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Judge orders 'pitbull’s’ destruction

A TEENAGER from Northern Ireland has been prosecuted for owning a ‘pit-bull’ type dog in only the third case of its kind in Ireland.

In ordering the destruction of the dog, Resident Magistrate Richard Wilson, made reference to the pitbull attack in Randalstown earlier this year in which a family pet was killed.

Prosecuting for Ballymena Borough Council, solicitor Stewart Ballentine, told how the council's dog warden, Nigel Devine, was on patrol in the town's Doury Road estate earlier this year when he saw the dog roaming free on its own.

Suspecting it was a pitbull-type dog, he seized it and, on the same day, he got a call from the owner saying it had been lost.

Mr Ballentine said the girl was told the council considered the dog to be a pitbull-type but this claim was disputed by her,

A USPCA welfare officer examined the dog and it was his view that the dog showed the pitbull-type characteristics and a vet also confirmed it had "pitbull characteristics".

Mr Ballentine said the girl claimed she only had the dog a few months and hadn't got round to getting it licensed. The solicitor said because of the "dangerous nature of this dog" the Council was asking the court to order the destruction of the animal in line with the Dangerous Dogs Act.

The teenager was fined £50 for ownership of a banned dog, £25 for absence of a dog licence and £25 for allowing the animal to stray. She was further ordered to pay £116 costs and a £100 for the cost of the council keeping the dog, meaning ownership of the illegal dog cost her £316 in total.

The dog, which is nine months old and called 'Bailey' will now be 'put down' by a vet whenever the official papers come through from the court.

No action is expected to be taken for at least two weeks in case there is the possibility of an appeal.