A woman who walked off chatting on her mobile phone while her Staffie savaged a beloved Yorkshire terrier to death, has been ordered to pay compensation.

Heather Atkins, 33, a lawyer from Balham, was devastated after her best friend, 10-year-old Caro, was killed by a Staffordshire bull terrier on Tooting Bec Common, in May.

Wandsworth Guardian: Heather and her beloved dog Caro

Mrs Atkins and her dog Caro 

Carol Plummer, of Foxbourne Road, Tooting, has now been prosecuted in Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court by the council following the fatal attack by her dog.

Plummer pleaded guilty, on Tuesday, to breaching Wandsworth bylaws designed to ensure dog owners keep proper control of their pets.

The court heard from the defence that Plummer had become a pariah locally, after details of the incident emerged, and her solicitor claimed she was remorseful about what happened.

Wandsworth Guardian:

After hearing that Plummer was on a low income and in receipt of benefits, magistrates ordered her to pay £250 compensation Mrs Atkins.

Last month Plummer also signed an acceptable behaviour contract (ABC) to ensure her dog was kept under firm and strict control in future.

Tiny Caro, who weighed just 2.5kg, did not stand a chance when the dog clamped its jaws around his neck and shook him on the morning of Tuesday, May 6.

Mrs Atkins had Caro since he was a puppy and brought him over to the UK when she moved from Las Vegas.

Mrs Atkins and Caro were “thick as thieves” and he had been with her through difficult periods in her life. In turn she looked after “loyal and doting” Caro, who had numerous health problems throughout the years.

Councillor Jonathan Cook, community safety spokesman, said: “This was obviously a deeply traumatic incident for the owner of the Yorkshire terrier. The loss of her beloved pet must have been devastating for her.

“As soon as Plummer was identified and traced we took immediate steps to ensure that her dog remains under very firm control whenever it is in a public place. The stringent rules she has agreed to abide by should ensure the safety of other pets in the area and minimise the risks of a repeat incident.

Wandsworth Guardian: Councillor Jonathan Cook warned some street collections are scams

“If, however, she breaches any of the terms of the agreement she has signed then tougher sanctions will almost inevitably follow very quickly.

“The council will not hesitate in taking legal action against owners who do not control their dogs properly or allow their pets to cause nuisance or harm to others.”