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Family's bid to save Bud the dog from destruction fails in court

By Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas

A devastated family has lost a court battle to stop Kent Police killing their dog.

The six-month challenge to save Bud’s life ended this week, despite magistrates hearing he was not a danger.

The case centred around dog handler PC Nigel Cook’s belief the two-year-old is a pit bull terrier – a banned breed.

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Kent Police applied for an application to destroy Bud
Kent Police applied for an application to destroy Bud

Courts can make exceptions, but police successfully argued Bud’s owner Anthony Pemberthy, of Green Lane, Langley, was not a fit owner as he’s on remand in prison and has many convictions.

Magistrates agreed his family were also unsuitable and granted Kent Police’s destruction order.

Speaking after the hearing, Pemberthy’s partner, Samantha Holden, and mother, Christine Hoadley said: “We’ve now got to go home and tell the kids they’re not going to see their dog again. We don’t get to say goodbye to him. It’s such a sad ending.”

Speaking via video link from HMP Elmley, Pemberthy – who was unrepresented in every hearing due to a lack of legal aid – said: “He’s friendly and like one of my kids. Why can’t he go back to where he was raised from six weeks old with my children?”

The 36-year-old is on remand after being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle.

In three separate hearings at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court, PC Cook maintained Bud is pleasant and not a danger.

He added: “I can’t give you guidance on what constitutes a fit owner it’s for the court to decide, but Mr Pemberthy has a long list of previous convictions and how can we give a dog back to a man in prison?”

Anthony Pemberthy
Anthony Pemberthy

PC Cook initially said Bud couldn’t live with Pemberthy’s partner or mother.

But in this week’s hearing he said the court could decide to grant ownership, but Kent Police would not be comfortable with it.

“We have issue with it going back to Miss Holden. She has three young children.

"Both ladies are known to the police, albeit the offences are minor. Bud is still very young, he still needs to develop mentally and physically he could get much larger which is a concern,” he said.

The family can appeal the court’s decision within 21 days.

Mrs Hoadley and Miss Holden added: “Thank you all, including the KM, for your support.”

Sam Holden and Christine Hoadley hold a photo of Bud
Sam Holden and Christine Hoadley hold a photo of Bud

A Kent Police spokesman said: “Kent Police has a legal obligation under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to notify the courts when officers become aware of a banned breed in the community.

“In this case, Kent Police seized the dog because officers believed it to be a banned pit bull-type and therefore a potential danger to the public.

“At no point throughout proceedings has any evidence been put forward to disprove that it is a banned type.

“It is not the responsibility of Kent Police to decide whether or not a dog should be destroyed, nor is destruction ever a preferred option.”

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