Anti-DDA defender honoured
A SPECIAL presentation was made at Crufts to a lawyer who has fought tirelessly on behalf of dogs caught up under the insidious 1991 Dangerous Dog Act.
Barrister Pamela Rose was presented with the Killick Column Award for Dogs’ Best Friend, awarded by OUR DOGS columnist Robert Killick. As Robert was unable to attend Crufts this year, the award – a stunning, hand painted plate - was presented to Pam by veteran anti-DDA campaigners Juliette and John Glass, founders of the Fury Defence Fund, an organisation which helps owners caught up under the DDA.
Pam Rose was speechless at receiving the award – a condition very rarely ever encountered by the many who know and admire Pam and her work. Over the years, Pam has worked tirelessly to defend dogs accused of being pit bull ‘types’ under the DDA and has an extremely high success rate, meaning that many innocent dogs’ live shave been spared due to her efforts.
When Pam recovered the power of speech, she expressed her thanks to Robert, Juliette and John and to everyone involved in the fight against Breed Specific legislation and the DDA and vowed to carry on the fight for as long as it took to see a fairer law instated.
Pam now joins a select group of recipients of the prestigious Killick Award, which includes Juliette Glass herself.
There was a special guest present at Pam’s presentation, in the form of Pit Bull Terrier ‘Larry’, a convicted dog ‘of the pit bull ‘type’ who was adopted by Juliette and John Glass after four long years incarceration, thus setting an unheard of legal precedent under the Act.
Larry – then named Tyson and owned by Faye Ashman – was held in ‘legal limbo’ after numerous court appearances to determine his fate. These included hearings in June and July 2004 at West London magistrates’ Court where he was found ‘guilty. This was followed by an appeal to Blackfriars Crown Court in October 2004, where the judgement was upheld. On June 29th 2005 an application for a Judicial Review was made to the High court, but this was ultimately rejected.
In August 2005, the FDF were instrumental in getting the case being put before Criminal Cases Review Commission under the terms of an Application for Review of Sentence.
The referral was finally heard at Blackfriars Crown Court (again) on October 18th 2007, where the legal challenge was finally successful. This was the first Section One DDA case to be considered by the CRCC.
The remit of the case was to challenge the previous ruling, disallowing change of ‘keepership’ of the dog. The terms of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act prevent the registered owner of a Pit Bull Terrier subsequently re-homing, or offering their dog to another party, should they find themselves unable to care for it, yet conversely the letter of the law does not specifically exclude change of keepership. Indeed the requisite documents have a section for both the name and address of the owner as well as the name and address of the keeper, if different to that of the owner. Mr and Mrs Glass sought to become Tyson’s new registered keepers, as his owner was unable to keep him.
Sitting at Blackfriars Crown Court on October 18, His Honour, Judge Blacksell was in agreement with the findings of the Commission, when he echoed that ‘John and Juliette Glass are of exemplary character and that Tyson would present no danger to the public if handed into their care’.
His previous owner, Ms Ashman had shown she was unable to be responsible for his upkeep, and admitted as much. But she said that she loved Tyson and was willing to do anything to save his life.
Judge Blacksell commented numerous times throughout the case on the unfairness of the law and, in conclusion, wished Tyson a happy life with Mr and Mrs Glass in Devon, where they live. Larry was released into the Glass’s care late last year and spent his first Christmas of freedom with them at their Devon home, being ‘thoroughly spoilt’.
Larry demonstrated what a calm and totally unthreatening dog he is during his visit to Crufts by walking around quite happily and allowing himself to be petted, although, of course, due to the law, he had to muzzled in public.
One of Larry’s biggest fans on the day was, of course, Pam Rose… and one feels that nothing will ever muzzle her in her determination to speak out against the DDA – except for a temporary period of speechlessness at receiving the Killick Award! After all – she truly is, a best friend to so many dogs.