QUEEN was distraught after Pharos, one of her corgis
had to be destroyed following an attack by her daughter’s
Bull Terrier, Dottie. The dog is the same animal that ‘attacked’ two
children in Windsor Great Park in 2002 resulting in a
court appe arance and fine of £500 for the Princess
The attack on the Queen’s dog happened as the Princess arrived at Sandringham just before Christmas to join the Royal Family for their traditional Christmas celebrations. She knocked on a door with her two Bull Terriers Dottie and Eglantyne and as it was opened by a servant, the Queen’s corgis raced down the staircase to welcome her and her pets. But the greeting turned violent when Dottie, aged four, lunged for Pharos, biting his hind legs and breaking one in three places.
The Queen, who was upstairs recovering from a knee operation, heard the yelps and hobbled to see what had happened. She found Pharos lying bleeding with serious injuries.
A vet was called and Pharos was taken to intensive care where he stayed overnight. The Queen agreed to have him put down on December 23rd.
A member of the Queen’s household said that the Queen was "devastated and distraught". "Everyone knows what the Queen’s corgis mean to her. They are loyal, faithful and cherished," the source said.
As with all her Corgis, the Queen had a Christmas stocking prepared to give to Pharos on Christmas Day. It was filled with doughnuts and chocolate drops. His death leaves the Queen with five corgis, Emma, Linnet, Rush, Minnie and Monty.
The Princess Royal was prosecuted after an incident in Windsor Great Park in 2002 when two boys riding bicycles were bitten by Dotty. The Princess was fined £500 after admitting keeping a "dangerous dog".
Canine Behaviourist Dr Roger Mugford appeared as an expert witness in the case had examined Dotty and said there "need be no risk of public concern", although she became excited around bicycles.
But once he had used a radio-controlled device to squirt a harmless gas at her, she swiftly lost interest in bikes, which led him to believe that she would respond well to training. He concluded: "She is a quick learner, a very good candidate for retraining."
The court directed that Dotty should receive re-training, although it is not known whether this retraining ever took place.
Naturally, the media went into overdrive at the news of Pharos’ death following the attack by Dotty, with the usual predictable comments about ‘dangerous’ Bull Terriers, whilst the Daily Mail carried ex-Labour MP Roy Hattersley’s usual canine pontifications, linking Dotty’s behaviour to that of his own dog ‘Buster’, who was prosecuted for killing a goose in St James’s Park some years ago.
Bull Terrier judge and anti-DDA campaigner John Branch appeared on several TV news items on Christmas Eve when news of the Dotty incident broke. Mr Branch declared that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to have Dotty destroyed, as many sections of the media were calling for.
Interestingly, public opinion seemed to back Mr Branch’s view, despite media attempts to play up to ‘euthanasia’ option.
Some newspapers quoted the RSPCA - of which the Queen is also patron – as saying that its standard policy was for a dog to be put down, as the safest option, following a second serious attack.
A spokeswoman said: “As far as we know, no-one has called the police or the RSPCA so we are not involved in this case, and we don't know the full circumstances.
“But if we were involved in the case, putting the animal down would be a seriously considered option.” She added: “If a dog nips someone or a pet but causes no harm, you can almost forgive it.
“But if the dog bites a child, jogger or another human being and then the same dog goes on to kill another dog, the chances are, given we knew the full circumstances and we were involved in the case, that we would recommend that the dog is put down as the safest option.”
However, RSPCA Press Officer Helen Briggs told OUR DOGS that their spokesperson’s comments had made it clear that they had no involvement in the incident concerning Dotty and Pharos. "The incident happened on private ground and neither we nor the police were involved, so we nor anyone outside of the Royal Family knows the full circumstances of the case," she said.
Crufts Chief Veterinary Surgeon Trevor Turner, who often appears as an expert witness for the defence in ‘dangerous dogs’ cases spoke to OUR DOGS. "Dotty obviously has some dominance aggression, as could be seen with the problem she had with the children," said Mr Turner. "The expert’s view in her case was that she needed re-training. In the most recent incident we have an absolutely classic scenario – a bitch off the lead arrives at a house which is not her territory, is met by other dogs and promptly goes into attack mode because she interprets the other dogs’ actions as a threat towards her.
"I was reading a newspaper article last weekend in which the journalist stated: ‘Come clean Anne, it’s your fault not the dog’s’ and I have to say I have some agreement with that. I would never arrive at another house where there were dogs without my dogs being under strict control."
Mr Turner continued: "I defended a case recently concerning a dog in the back of estate car that leaned out of an open window and bit someone walking past. Quite simply it bit someone whom it perceived to be a threat. Now, obviously Dotty’s case is high profile because she is Princess Anne’s dog, but the same thing happened here where there is a situation of perceived threat. The home dog – Pharos the Corgi - wants to guard its territory whilst the incoming dog – Dotty – sees this territorial behaviour as aggression. I certainly don’t think the Bull Terrier intended to kill the Corgi. As you know, Bull Terriers grab and hold, so the Corgi, being an older dog, probably twisted to get away and caused more serious injury. The Bull Terrier didn’t kill the other dog at all, but nevertheless it caused a severe injury – and in my view this could have been forecast as the dog has a history of aggression, so it is down to the owner to take necessary precautions."
A full week after the incident, Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying - rather conveniently for the Princess Royal - that Dotty was an innocent victim of mistaken identity.
It was reported that the culprit could be one of the Princess Royal's other bull terriers, Florence, after vets compared the corgi's wounds with the two dogs' jaw sizes.
The well-known record of fact, the Daily Mail quoted a 'palace servant' as saying: "There have been exhaustive inquiries - just like conducting a murder investigation. Statements were taken, the vet's opinion's sought, the corpse examined and the upshot is that Dotty is off the leash."
The eloquent flunky's comments were backed up in similar vein by an equally loquacious 'friend' who said that Princess Anne breathed a sigh of relief when the findings were made known - indicating that she obviously had no idea which of her dogs had attacked Pharos:
She's very find of Dotty and the attack by Florence was very out of character and as it is a first offence, she is in the clear.
"As for Dotty, she may attack children but she certainly doesn't kill other dogs. Both dogs look very alike so it is easy to see how mistakes can be made