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Council seizes dog under DDA

COUNCIL OFFICIALS seized a Staffordshire Bull terrier/Rhodesian Ridgeback cross as a pit bull ‘type’ dog under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act after it escaped from its owner’s home during an attempted break-in.

Crossbreed Al is owned by Eileen Thornhill, 23 and has never been in any kind of trouble before. The dog escaped, along with Miss Thornhill’s other dog during an attempted break-in two weeks ago when neighbours smashed a lock on the garden gate, unaware that the two dogs were on the other side. The burglars escaped and a neighbour, hearing the commotion, managed to grab the other dog, but Al, who was not wearing a collar, escaped, and was later captured by a Nottingham City Council dog warden.

The dog warden decided that Al was an unregistered, illegal pit bull ‘type’ dog and refused to release him to Miss Thornhill. The dog is being held at council kennels until a determination on his type has been made and whether or not charges may be brought against Miss Thornhill under Section One of the DDA.

Vet Alison Jane Morris Robson has already examined Al. The vet has pronounced Al to be a pit bull type. Miss Morris Robson was recently featured in a BBC documentary on dangerous dogs, bemoaning the fact that the police make very few DDA prosecutions nowadays due to lack of resources.

Miss Thornhill is seeking help via the Fury Defence Fund to have Al examined by her own expert witness.
As yet, she has not been allowed to see her dog, although she was offered the chance to sit in a car and watch the dog be walked past her.

Juliette Glass of the FDF confirmed that the organisation was helping Miss Thornhill in the matter.

‘When I spoke to the council’s solicitor, he seemed extremely vague as to the definitions of which dogs were covered by the Act,’ Mrs Glass told OUR DOGS. ‘ I suggested he contact solicitor Trevor Cooper for advice, as he didn’t seem to understand much of the Act’s workings.’

A spokesman for Nottingham City Council meanwhile said that the matter was still under investigation.