The owner of a XL bully dog, who punched a vet in the face and injured him, could be jailed.

Arbas Hamaz Hamid, 24, was among five people who descended on the vet’s surgery in north Acomb, said Kathryn Walters, prosecuting.

For several minutes, the group confronted the vet in a small consulting room before Hamid struck.

York magistrates heard he was angry because the dog had died while undergoing surgery at the vet's.

They decided the case was too serious for them to deal with and sent it to York Crown Court so that Hamid can be sentenced by a judge who has greater sentencing powers than them.

Mrs Walters told them national sentencing guidelines suggest courts should start by considering sentences of at least 18 months in jail for the offence. Magistrates can only jail defendants for six months.

“It was an assault on a person working in the execution of his duty,” she said.

Hamid, of Deepdale Road, Kimberworth near Rotherham, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm to the vet. His solicitor Hamza Younis did not object to the case being sent to York Crown Court.

Hamid, who was released on unconditional bail, will be sentenced on December 14.

Mr Younis did not give any mitigation other than to say that Hamid had no previous conditions. 

Mrs Walters said Hamid and his four companions arrived at the vet’s surgery in two cars in Plantation Drive, off Boroughbridge Road, at 4.45pm on January 16.

They were there about the dog which, said Mrs Walters, “had unfortunately passed away during surgery".

The group were taken to a consulting room to collect the dog.

For five minutes they and the vet discussed the matter.

“Then this defendant has punched the vet to the face, causing a bloody nose, bruising and a wound and laceration requiring stitches,” said Mrs Walters.

Hamid and his group then left the surgery, got into the vehicles in which they had arrived and departed.

“It was a group activity and prolonged, leading up to the actual violence and injuries were sustained,” said Mrs Walters.

The Government announced last month that it will become illegal to own XL bully dogs from February 1 next year, unless the animal is on an exempt list, called the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Before January 31, owners wanting to keep their animal must register it and thereafter keep it under strict conditions including neutering it and microchipping it and having it muzzled and on a lead in public.

The Government made the move after a series of attacks by American XL bully dogs that left two people dead and a third in hospital.