Published: 00:00, 09 August 2007
| Updated: 10:15, 09 August 2007
A ROTTWEILER which savaged another pet has had its death sentence lifted by an appeal court.
Magistrates in Thanet had ordered Haga’s destruction after hearing how it attacked another dog when it escaped from its home.
The attack happened in March in Hawe Farm Way, Herne Bay, near the home of Haga’s owner Rachel Price.
Diane Young, who lives in Rockingham Place in Broomfield, had been walking her bichon frise Casper when it was set upon by Haga, the appeal heard.
Mrs Young was bitten as she fought to rescue her animal from the jaws of the rottweiler – and Casper needed treatment for serious injuries.
Don Ramble, for the prosecuting authorities, told how Mrs Young screamed: “Someone help me” as Haga shook Casper from side to side. Her cries were heard by a man walking his alsatian who came to her aid.
Price was fined £200 and ordered to pay Mrs Young £300 compensation after she admitted breaching the Dangerous Dogs Act. The magistrates also ordered that the rottweiler be put down.
But Price, of Dean Croft, Herne Bay, appealed against the sentence to a judge at Canterbury Crown Court, claiming the animal was not a threat to the public.
Animal behavioural therapist and trainer Anthony O’Herlihy, who examined Haga after the attack and wrote a report, said it was “a normal dog who just craved attention". He said the animal would respond to being neutered and recommended measures to help prevent a repeat attack.
Hannah Jameel, for Price, asked the judge, sitting with two magistrates, to rule “on the balance of probabilities that the dog is not a danger to the public.”
She said the fence at the family home had been tampered with while Price was out, and the dog had escaped.
Since then, new locks had been installed and the dog had been made to wear a muzzle and a special harness when it was walked.
Judge Michael O’Sullivan allowed the appeal – but said Thanet magistrates should not be criticised for their destruction ruling because they had not seen the therapist’s report.
He said Haga could be spared as long as the dog was castrated within 21 days and wore a muzzle and special collar in public, and as long as the repairs to the gate were maintained.
Mrs Young told the Herne Bay Gazette she was disappointed with the appeal decision.
For days after the attack it was feared their pet would not survive. And the animal's psychological scars were still very apparent.
Mrs Young added: “I am a dog lover but I still think that dog should have been destroyed. The attack was vicious. The dog kept coming back to get Casper – once he had tasted blood he wanted to kill him."