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Behaviourist calls for answers
Roger Mugford brands treatment ‘callous’


DR ROGER Mugford is launching a special drive following our report (OD April 4) concerning the dreadful conditions under which dogs were held at Hilltop Kennels after being seized by Merseyside Police during the infamous ‘Liverpool Amnesty’.

Dr Mugford has raised his deep concerns regarding the manner in which the dogs were housed whilst awaiting assessment under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The treatment of these dogs, he felt, was ‘particularly callous’, however, the well known canine behaviourist and one of the recognised experts in the identification of the ‘pit bull type’ has become so concerned he is launching a special drive to bring the matter to the attention of the police, local authorities and government.

He says that the legislation assumes that the police or local authority will provide a reasonable standard of care of dogs while they are in their possession. He told OUR DOGS: ‘Unfortunately, in both my and my fellow experts’ opinion, many of these seized dogs are subjected to persistent and extreme deprivations.’

Dr Mugford has also circulated a number of distressing images of dogs he has personally had to assess and is urging everyone who wishes to assist in bringing the matter the attention of the authorities.

Twist

A curious twist to this story relates to the prosecution of the owner of Hilltop Kennels, the establishment responsible for the care of the incarcerated dogs. As previously reported, Hilltop was ordered to pay almost £10,000 for cruelty to animals, however the Merseyside Police said that the animals were placed in a licensed boarding kennels, paid for by them and ‘they fully expected them to be given the high level of care as any other animal’.

Dr Mugford has suggested that the 14 dogs were clearly not monitored by the police, nor was the kennel inspected by its local authority responsible for licensing it under the 1963 Boarding of Animal Act. It was left to the RSPCA to bring forward the prosecution.

Merseyside Police also came under considerable criticism for the way in which the ‘round-up’ and the subsequent ‘amnesty’ was conducted. Interestingly, at the RSPCA’s Summer Conference ‘examining the challenges of managing dogs within our communities’ one of the speakers is Neil Davies – head of the dog unit of Merseyside Police.

Anyone who wishes to raise their own concerns is asked to contact Bill Lambert at the kennel Club; the Deed not Breed (Melanie@deednotbreed.org.uk); the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police or Hillary Benn at Defra (helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk) or Jacqui Smith and Tom McNulty at the Home Office (public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk)