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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71130
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi. Our dog was recently being walked by a professional dog

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Hi. Our dog was recently being walked by a professional dog walker. He was harnessed but managed to slip the harness. Something that has never happened before. He ran off and attacked a dog on the park. The other dog did not sustain any injuries at all, but in trying to protect the dog, it's owner picked it up and my dogs teeth caught her hand. They reported the matter to the police. I reported it to the local dog warden and asked for them to visit and evaluate the dog. We also contacted the rescue centre. And have a dog behaviourist coming over this weekend to undertake an impartial evaluation of the dog. The dog did not attack the woman. As a lurcher he has a natural prey instinct and unfortunately the other dog was a small white fluffy cockapoo. The ladies husband has demanded that our dog be put down. However, I appreciate they are upset - our dog did not attack the woman. Rather she was injured trying to protect her dog. It was a terrible accident. Now, the lady's husband has called the local paper and a reporter has called for a response - giving us an "opportunity to put our story forward". Should I talk to the paper? Is there anything we can do to stop this invasion of our privacy? Thanks

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

There isn't anything you can do to stop the press reporting I'm afraid. This is not a privacy issue. We have a free press in the UK and they have been given an account which they are entitled to print unless, of course, they print anything untrue.

In terms of whether you should put your story forward, if you are going to say that your dog is lurcher and was obeying natural prey instinct and she was only injured as collateral damage in the course of a dog scrape then I really don't think that would help and it would be better to refuse to speak to them.

Apart from anything else, there may well be some police contact over this and then your position would be damaged by your account being in the paper.

You have not committed an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 because you can rely on the statutory defence under S3[2] since you gave him to a dog walker. However, if the dog walker is prosecuted then your dog would be at risk of destruction which probably would be avoided but it would not be helpful if you had been talking to the press.

Can I clarify anything for you?]

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. The police are not pursuing the case and handed it over to the dog warden who has said their is no case here as he is not a dangerous dog.

The dog warden won't pursue it. They very rarely rely on the Dangerous Dogs Act.

The police do have a case though if he injured her even as collateral damage unless, of course, it was private land but if they are not pursuing it then don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Its still probably not a good idea to offer this account to a newspaper though. The article will not be sympathetic.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, will follow your advice. Thank you. Is there anything else we should be doing.

When did you have contact from the dog warden and how was it left?

Do you know why the police are not pursuing this? I understand he's not dangerous but the Dangerous Dogs Act is a stupid piece of legislation that does often affect dogs that are not dangerous.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi. The police have decided not to pursue as they are happy that he did not attack the woman. They passed it on to the dog warden who visited us and worked with the dog - winding him up and seeing what affect it had. They are going to report that he is not a dangerous dog

Have they asked you to sign any form of contract about how he is to be maintained?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, the police did not...but I we had been in touch with the dog sanctuary - and we have stated to the dog warded that we are purchasing a new harness. He will be tethered to the harness and a collar and will be muzzled. The behaviourist this weekend will advise further.

There isn't much more they would ask you to do. Some councils operate an ABC contract scheme but obviously they are not concerned about the need here.

I would just ignore the papers though. The press are never sympathetic to this type of thing.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, thanks. We'll just tough it out. Appreciate your time (ps....hope it wasn't £47 per reply). Have a great day

No problem and all the best.

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