A man was assaulted after he tried to stop a rottweiler from drowning his cocker spaniel.
Melvyn Lillywhite had been walking with family members alongside their labrador and four spaniels in Alyn Waters Country Park in Wrexham on June 21.
One of the spaniels, who was off the lead, had run ahead and, when Mr Lillywhite heard it yelp, he ran to investigate.
He found his dog being held underwater by two rottweilers and started shouting, using his plastic tennis ball thrower to hit one of the dogs and free the spaniel.
Mr Lillywhite managed to pick up his dog but he fell into the water – not realising he had been punched by Keith Allan Kendal-Reed, 61, of Speedwell Ridge, Telford – the owner of the rottweilers.
Kendal-Reed, who was standing in front of Mr Lillywhite with his fists clenched, accused him of hitting his dogs.
Kendal-Reed continued at Mr Lillywhite, who tried to explain he thought the two rottweilers were trying to drown his dog and he had not intended to harm them.
Mr Lillywhite turned to walk away but he was struck to the back of the head by Kendal-Reed.
He was left with a badly-bleeding split lip following the attack.
Appearing before Wrexham Magistrates’ Court, Kendal-Reed, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to assault.
Prosecutor Rhian Jackson said Kendal-Reed told officers he had been trying to catch one of the rottweilers, which had broken its lead, when it ran after the cocker spaniel.
He had only physically intervened to stop Mr Lillywhite from hurting his dog.
Melissa Griffiths, defending, said Kendal-Reed had quit has job as a mechanic to work as a full-time carer to his wife, who has a condition similar to multiple sclerosis.
Kendal-Reed claimed the cocker spaniel had approached his dogs and started barking at them, which was what started the whole incident.
And it was his case that only one of his dogs had been in the water, not both of them.
His two rottweilers and his Staffordshire bull terrier had all been on the lead but one of the rottweilers broke free and gave chase to the cocker spaniel.
Kendal-Reed went into the water to try and retrieve his dog but was angered when he saw Mr Lillywhite hitting it with the tennis ball thrower.
And matters were made worse when Mr Lillywhite swore at him.
Kendal-Reed accepted full responsibility for the attack and the injury suffered by Mr Lillywhite and expressed sorrow for his actions.
Sentencing, deputy district judge Derek French said the attack clearly passed the custody threshold.
But he drew back from sending Kendal-Reed to prison, handing him an eight-week custodial term suspended for 12 months.
Mr French also ordered Kendal-Reed to pay £100 in compensation to Mr Lillywhite, as well as £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
He said: “I do not accept that if someone swore, that is good reason to punch them to the head.
“This took place in a country park where there were members of the public present – no doubt some of whom have seen this incident.
“Attacks like this cause a general unrest in society and have a knock-on effect on peoples’ confidence in going to such places.”