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Judge orders pitbull terrier to be destroyed after attack in Brenchley Gardens, Maidstone

A pitbull terrier has been ordered to be destroyed after a two-year wait on "death row".

The pet named Rex escaped the clutches of his owner Reece Mooney in August last year and bit a rival Japanese Spitz dog called Sunny.

His tearful owner wept after the judge ruled the Rex posed a threat and pleaded with the judge: "Can I be there when he is put down?"

Reece Mooney admitted having a dog dangerously out of control.
Reece Mooney admitted having a dog dangerously out of control.

A police officer told lawyers for Mooney, of Rayfield Close, Willowside, Snodland, that it wouldn't be allowed for security reasons.

The 25-year-old cleaner had pleaded with Judge Julian Smith to reverse a magistrates' court decision to make a destruction order for the incident in Brenchley Gardens in Maidstone in August 2017.

Moody told the appeal hearing at Maidstone Crown Court that what happened was all down to "s*** timing."

He said he went to sit down on the summer's day and Rex attacked passing dog owner Stephanie Sutton, leaving her with bite marks which needed anti-biotic treatment.

The attack happened in Brenchley Gardens, Maidstone
The attack happened in Brenchley Gardens, Maidstone

Mooney claimed the dog returned to him after being summoned but then escaped a second time as distressed Ms Sutton fled the park.

He admitted having a dog dangerously out of control and was given a suspended jail sentence after losing his appeal.

During the past two years, as Rex languished in kennels, the courts were involved in settling an argument as to whether he was a prohibited dog.

Magistrates ruled it was a banned animal and the judge, sitting with two different magistrates, rejected the appeal that Moody wasn't a fit person to own and animal.

Ms Sutton was walking her dog in the park "as she habitually" did but since an incident in 2016 when she said Re also attacked her pet "she kept careful watch."

Reece Mooney outside court (12396773)
Reece Mooney outside court (12396773)

The judge added: "She was concerned an anxious as a result of that incident in June 2016 when she was walking Sunny and Rex came out of the bushes and wasn't on a lead, which pinned Sunny to the ground.

"There was minor puncture wounds to the cheeks of her dog and reported the matter after calling 101 but no action was taken

"In August this year Rex came from behind the bandstand and she held Sunny in her arms and she heard Rex snarling and then it jumped up and bit her.

"She felt a short sharp pain and the wound bled. She said she became hysterical and began screaming and she felt the defendant became annoyed and not contrite."

Ms Sutton received puncture wounds which became infected and photographs (of the injury) are graphic, unsettling and disturbing. There are scars and this was not trivial or minor."

Mooney claimed his control was "adequate" and the dog had just "popped up" and "nipped her arm"and called Ms Sutton's pet as "that rat" but the Judge said the injuries were serious, distressing and painful".

Mooney became distressed and began shaking and crying as the judge ruled that Rex should be destroyed.

He was given a nine months jail sentence suspended and carry out 180 hours of unpaid work for the community

The judge added: "Submissions have been made (by Moody's lawyer) that this was a very minor.. incident involving a playful dog.

"We accept that Reece Mooney had a profound affection for Rex and that they are very close; as he said: "Rex is an amazing dog" and on whom in many ways he relies on.

"That doesn't make our job any easier but we have to take an objected view of the risk posed by the dog."

Mooney was also banned from owning an animal for five years.

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