THE height of the campaign to free her, Dempsey was the most
famous dog in the country, and sympathy for her extended globally
writes Janet Payne. Brigitte Bardot offered her a place of
safety in France, and even sent her own lawyer to attend a
One can only imagine what he thought of what passes for good old British justice. I dont know the French for farcical,vengeful, corrupt, etc, but the observations are the same in any language.
As is typical of DDA cases, no budgetary restraint got in the way of persecuting Dempsey. Whatever was offered in defence was shot down, yet no questions asked of the Prosecutions dubious testimony, or the paperwork having mysteriously disappeared when it looked like we had a chance. Campaigners against the DDA are all too familiar with such tactics, though never comprehend what drives people to be so cruel to so sweet natured a dog. Dempseys crime was having her muzzle removed in the street as she was being sick, an act of kindness observed by an overzealous police officer, which turned into a four year nightmare.
However, at the eleventh hour, Juliette Glass of the Fury Defence Fund found a judges ruling allowing just one more appeal, and this time it was successful! At long last Dempsey was free, and there wasnt a dry eye in the house.
It was my pleasure to meet Dempsey on a few occasions after that, and what a fine specimen she was, her expression all the more endearing with those gawky upright ears! And what a temperament- Dempsey epitomised all that is great in the Pit Bull Terrier, so calm and so gentle. A day out at Roger Mugfords to help re-integrate her soon after her release would have been a complete waste of time had it not been so much fun. Dempsey certainly didnt need it, her behaviour, including around dogs and other animals, was unchanged and perfect.
A party held in Dempseys honour in central London, attended by several of her political and celebrity supporters, again saw her demeanour remain rather more dignified than that of the jubilant guests!
Seeing Dempsey on tv recently reminded me that age catches up with us all. I am only sorry I didnt get the chance to look into those beautiful eyes again. My thoughts are with Dianne and her family, who must be grief-stricken. But I hope that they can eventually take comfort from Dempsey having an exceptionally long life and being amongst those who loved her at the end.
The same sadly cannot be said for so many other dogs who, having been abused and starved in their holding kennels, never went home again and suffered an unknown fate. Let them all be reunited in heaven, with the fine example of Dempsey as the standard bearer.
God bless you, Dempsey, the world was a better place for having you in it.