Mr Ellam and his partner Claire Josling had previously raised concern with the authorities that the dog might be a banned pit bull.
Officers visited postman Joseph’s flat in Huddersfield, West Yorks, and seized the animal for investigation but returned it eight days before the fatal attack.
Leeds Crown Court heard the dog had already attacked three other neighbours and a council workman. Joseph was given a dog control order demanding the dog be neutered, insured and microchipped in October 2012.
It is alleged he ignored all the terms of the order. The court heard how former school lollipop man Mr Ellam was taking his own Yorkshire terrier Rolo for a walk on August 15, 2016, when he was set upon by the terrier, which had dug its way out of a pen built by Joseph in his garden.
Richard Walters, prosecuting, said: “Neighbours heard Mr Ellam shouting, ‘Help me, please somebody help me’. “Alex had hold of him by the arm. She then bit his leg and Mr Ellam’s cries for help were becoming more desperate, people could see there was a lot of blood.
“Mr Ellam was heard to say he could not take much more. His cries became weaker and further apart. He fell unconscious and the dog was now dragging him.”
Neighbours had called 999 and on arrival police used a fire extinguisher to force the dog to release its grip on Mr Ellam. But he was pronounced dead in hospital later that evening.
The jury was told how in 2010 neighbour Emmy Waite was bitten by the dog and two years later Lionel Brown was also attacked. Council workman John Sykes was bitten while cleaning his tools outside the Huddersfield flats where Joseph and Mr Ellam lived.
Magistrates ordered Joseph to keep proper control over the dog – only for it to bite another neighbour, Wai Leung Li, the following year. Neighbours had reported seeing Joseph kicking and punching the bull terrier. Mr Walters said Mr Ellam was so worried about the dog that he reported it to the council dog warden expressing concern that it was a banned breed.
He said: “The police attended the defendant’s address and seized Alex but, after an examination, determined she was not a banned breed.
“She was returned to the defendant on August 8, just a week before the fatal attack on Mr Ellam.”
Joseph denies being the owner of a dog that caused the death of Mr Ellam while being dangerously out of control.
The trial continues.
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