A charity worker who had his finger severed by a dog has been awarded almost £7,000 in compensation. Peter Ball, 72, was putting an RNLI leaflet through the letterbox of Kenneth Belfield when a dog bit off the tip of his index finger.
Preston County Court heard that Mr Ball had not been aware of the presence of a dog as he approached the door of the house in Leyland, Lancashire. However, as he pushed the leaflet through the letterbox, Benson, a flat coat retriever, suddenly jumped at the door. When Mr Ball withdrew his hand he found that it was covered in blood. He lost about an inch of his index finger and the injury has made it difficult for him to carry out DIY and to use a fork.
District Judge Ashton decided, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Ball had not caught his finger in the letterbox flap as he withdrew his hand, as claimed by the defendant. It was more likely that the dog had snapped at his hand and taken off the end of his finger.
The owner of the house, Mr Belfield, had a duty to protect visitors to his property and could have restricted the dog's movement or installed a box on the inside of the door. Finding Mr Belfield liable, the court ordered him to pay compensation of £6,929 as well as Mr Ball's legal costs of £9,000.