Police return dog cut and bleeding
A MERSEYSIDE dog owner was left upset and shocked when her pet dog was returned cut and bleeding, following detention by police in kennels under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act legislation.
Lenny had been ordered by Liverpool Magistrates’ court to be registered in accordance with the terms of the DDA and, once exempted, returned to his owner.
*Lenny, photographed soon after his return showing the extensive wounds to his face and body
Lenny’s owner Jackie Rushton is calling for a change in the law to allow for owner- led registration of alleged ‘pit bull types’ after TWO traumatic experiences for both her and her dog due to the current legislation.
Jackie’s pup Lenny was just 10 months old when seized by Merseyside police in July of this year. Jackie had taken Lenny in after she found him straying several months earlier. Despite attempts to find his owner, no one came forward so Lenny became a fully-fledged member of the family joining Jackie, her son Lee and their other dog, Sammy.
On Monday 23rd July 2007 Lenny was seized from his home whilst owner Jackie was at work. Jackie immediately contacted anti-DDA groups Deed Not Breed and the Bull Breed Advisory Service (BBAS. However, during subsequent conversations with Merseyside police, it soon emerged that, Jackie's pup Lenny couldn't be traced within the system and Jackie had to wait six more days before knowing her dog was safe and well.
Jackie Rushton said: ‘It was awful; I had no idea where he was and initially the police claimed they didn't either. I am a responsible owner and had never managed to lose my dog, yet the police enforcing a law to ‘protect the public’, a law that may label my dog as a ‘dangerous dog’ had no idea where he was! I even had to create a log number via the police call centre to find him! At one stage I was told Lenny had been taken to the local dog pound and was I advised to go and visit due to the seven-day rule, which could have led to him being put to sleep as an unwanted stray.’
Lenny was finally traced the following Sunday and his owner was allowed to visit him for 90 minutes to help put her mind at rest.
Melanie Page of Deed Not Breed told OUR DOGS: ‘It was an awful experience and one no pet owner should have to go through. This in itself should be enough to show this law has serious faults and needs to be revised. At the very least, as an interim measure, to allow for owners to register their dogs without the need for police or court involvement, thereby keeping their dogs at home.’
However Jackie and Lenny’s story gets worse.
Lenny was ordered to be entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs, the registry for pit bull ‘type’ dogs, via court order and was finally reunited with Jackie and family on November 2nd. He was returned by two police officers, but it woon became clear that all was not well.
Jackie describes the day: ‘When I saw Lenny being led out of the van my first thought was he had been in attacked by another dog. He had cuts all over his face.
Some were bleeding, some looked older and where scaring already. The police who dropped him off told me that they had tried to muzzle train him during his stay but he had repeatedly taken the muzzle off so they had decided to use a wire muzzle instead. I took Lenny straight indoors and removed his muzzle. I rang the Bull Breed Advisory Service who recommended I take him straight to the vets.’
As Lenny would be in a public place, he had to be muzzled and Jackie explained she had no problem placing the plastic ‘Baskerville’ muzzle on him. At the vets Lenny was treated with antibiotics and given a course of anti inflammatory drugs and Jackie received an £87 bill. Lenny was found to have approximately 30 cuts to his face, muzzle, inside both ears and the corner of both eye, together with a long gash on his front right leg and two further wounds on his back left leg. Lenny needs to be seen by the vets again this week and may require further treatment.
Since leaving kennels Lenny has found it hard to settle back into life at home and a behaviourist working alongside the Bull Breed Advisory Service is giving Jackie and Lenny support.
Jackie says: ‘It’s time to re-open the register to allow owners like myself to be able to register their dogs without all this. I don’t care about the vet bill but my dog is hurt and scarred for life. This should never have happened. It is not up to anyone but myself, as Lenny’s owner to train him to a muzzle. No wonder he wouldn’t accept it in kennels, he was scared, he was away from us, in a cold kennel and had no idea what was going on. At home we have had no problems with the muzzle.
‘I’ve had to get my vets to log every single mark on him in case someone accuses me of fighting him, because that’s what he looks like. He’s Lenny, my baby and no owner or dog should ever have to go through this again. I have put in a complaint to Merseyside Police and I beg anyone out there who is able to, to sign the petition by Deed Not Breed to re-open the register to owners.
Look my dog in his eyes and tell me your name will not make a difference.’
Merseyside Police were unavailable for comment.
* To sign the petition to re-open the Index of Exempted Dogs:
By Nick Mays,