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DDA dog dies in police custody

A FAMILY in Merseyside have been left devastated after learning that their pet dog has died in police appointed kennels.

Merseyside Police seized ‘Macey’ owned by Rita Payton under Section One of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act legislation as an alleged ‘pit bull type’ as part of the Merseyside crackdown on so-called dangerous dogs.

Macey was held at police-appointed kennels whilst her owners prepared to attend court on 15th November. The police have now dropped all charges.

Merseyside Police have ordered that a post mortem be carried out on the four year-old bitch, the results of which are not yet available. There were no temperament issues regarding the family pet and her owner did not have a police record.

Anti-DDA group Deed Not Breed and the Bull Breed Advisory Service (BBAS), who have worked with the owner while Macey was seized, believe Macey ‘had a high chance’ of being allowed to be registered as a pit bull ‘type’ on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Alison Green of BBAS said: ‘Whilst nothing is certain until a judgement is made, Mrs Payton is a responsible owner who ensured her dog was well mannered and always under her control. Mrs Payton’s young children believed Macey was on holiday and would be home soon, the whole family are heartbroken.’

Family pet Macey was seized by police as a result of a call from a member of the public. The seizure was based purely on her looks and physical measurements; not on the behaviour of the dog or owner.

‘No one is suggesting that this awful incident would not have happened had she not been seized; as yet no one knows why this pet dog has died. We understand she had shown no sign of any illness prior to her death, however the fact that she died without her owner by her side has obviously made this tragic news even more traumatic for her family. A full investigation into the circumstances of Macey’s death needs to be carried out urgently.’

Prior to Macey being seen by a breed ID expert, Mrs Payton had not known she fell into the broad category of ‘type’. Had she been aware and the Index of Exempted Dogs allowed for owner led registration, Mrs Payton would have voluntarily registered Macey avoiding the stressful separation enforced under the current system and enabling Macey to stay at home with her family.

The case has grim echoes of the early 1990s when a number of dogs seized under the DDA died in police-appointed kennels whilst awaiting trial under the DDA. No investigations into their deaths were launched and no compensation was paid to their owners.
Merseyside Police were unavailable for comment.

The Index has been closed to owner applications since 1992 and at present, only a court can order a dog to be registered.

Deed not Breed are heading a campaign as an interim measure, to reopen the Index to allow responsible owners such as Mrs Payton to bring their pet dogs within the law without the need for court involvement.

*You can help by signing the Deed Not Breed petition to the government to re-open the Index of Exempted Dogs at:

By Nick Mays, Chief Reporter