FATE of a dog sentenced to death by magistrates for an accidental
biting incident may hang in the balance after an apparent discrepancy
by the Crown Prosecution Service in the interpretation of the
Dangerous Dogs Act, writes Nick Mays.
As reported previously in OUR DOGS, the case of GSD Dino has rumbled on for nearly two years after Dino got into a fight with another dog, during which the other dogs owner was bitten. Dinos owner, Carol Lamont from East Hunsbury, Northampton, was advised by her original solicitor to plead guilty to the charge of "allowing her dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place" under Section 3 of the DDA. Magistrates accepted the plea and ordered that Dino be destroyed, even though this was the dogs first and only offence. Mrs Lamont and her husband Bryan then engaged Trevor Cooper to act on their behalf, and he challenged the destruction order at Northampton Crown Court in September, but Mr Recorder Edelman upheld the magistrates' decision, saying that Dino had attacked the other dog without any provocation and continued to pose a danger to public safety.
Subsequent appeals to the High Court and House of Lords have all been rejected, with the CPS and judiciary maintaining that the magistrates interpretation of the law was correct. Dinos case is now being prepared for appeal in the European Courts.
following the much-publicised court appearance of the Princess
Royal under a similar Section 3 charge, solicitor Trevor Cooper
has written to the CPS pointing out that in Dinos case,
the CPS indicated that it was "not within the courts
powers" to issue a Contingent Destruction Order upon Dino,
whereby the dog would be released, but if he offended again
he would be destroyed. However, in Dottys case the CPS
allowed the court to make a Contingent Destruction Order.
Mr Cooper told OUR DOGS: "It is an obvious discrepancy. The CPS cannot be right in both cases. Either the ruling for Dino is wrong, or the ruling for Dotty is wrong. I am of the opinion that it is perfectly within the courts powers to issue a Contingent Destruction Order, but this has constantly been denied to us in Dinos case. I am not suggesting that the Princess Royal received preferential treatment; indeed, I feel that the courts verdict was perfectly acceptable and correct given the evidence and the Princesss plea of guilty.
"However, I have written to the CPS to point out this discrepancy and I would hope that they will re-examine Dinos case in the light of this. I await their reply with interest."