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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70204
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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There, Sorry to disturb you but I have a quick question

Resolved Question:

Hi There,
Sorry to disturb you but I have a quick question with regards ***** ***** abuse & slanderous accusations. I would greatly appreciate if you could give me your thoughts on this.
Our friend is staying in London at a hotel with her husband & much loved 7 year old dog. On Monday, they popped out to go to the cinema leaving the dog in the room with water, food & the tele on for a few hours. And reception had been notified. Yesterday they found out that a fellow guest had reported them as animal abusers as the dog was heard whining & she was going to alert the police if the hotel didn't do anything. Our friends are devastated & have never done anything to upset the dog or in fact any animal & now some person has brandished them animal abusers, which in my opinion is a very harsh word to describe a couple who treat their dog like a baby & bring him everywhere with them.
I would really like to know your thoughts on this as my friend hasn't stopped crying since been called this. And they are both big animal lovers & try to help as many charities including Born Free, Battersea Dogs Home etc.Please let me reassure them that they are not abusers. They love their dog so much & would never do anything to hurt him or put him in danger.
Would really love to know your thoughts!
Kind Regards,
Tara
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Surely to call someone a dog abuser is a serious offence when clearly the couple are not. Is there any thing they can do? Is it slanderous as the guest told a few people about the situation.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, I'm afraid not.
A defamation is not an offence. It is a civil wrong.
Potentially calling a person a 'dog abuser' can amount to a defamation. It is statement capable of causing damage to a person's reputation. Remember that the test now is 'serious damage'. Examples of that have included things like allegations of a sexual interest in children and other similar factors that destroy reputations without recovery.
There is absolutely no point in alerting the police. This is not an offence.
They could get a solicitor to write to them warning them of the laws of defamation. That would probably cost around £100 plus VAT and often does achieve the end desired.
A contested defamation action though is going to cost in excess of £10k and there is no legal aid I'm afraid. They are cheaper than they were but still not really accessible to most people.
Sorry but I can only give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
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