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Dogs destroyed after court battle
GSDs ‘a danger to livestock’ rules magistrate

ALLOWING HIS German Shepherds to run amok and savaging a flock of sheep has cost an owner his dogs and thousands of pounds after a year-long legal battle.

The attack, which occurred on a farm owned by Milton Keynes councillor Andrew Geary, led to the death of 25 sheep, and subsequently magistrates ordered the destruction of GSDs Samson and Henry because they are a danger to livestock.

The dogs’ owner, 37-year-old Mark Kingham, is now £9,000 out of pocket after paying Mr Geary £4,000 compensation, plus £4,000 kennel fees and another £1,000 to the court. It was the second time the dogs had attacked a herd of sheep in less than four months.

After the case, Mr Kingham, of Harpole, Northants, commented: "It has been upsetting all the way along but we have given our dogs every chance and that's all we could do." He added neither he nor his family had visited the pair while they were kept at Forest Lodge Kennels in Quinton, Northants, because it would have been too distressing for his young children and the dogs.

The court heard that the two dogs escaped from a stable owned by Mr Kingham in Emberton, when his daughter unlocked a gate on November 16, last year. At 7.20am the next day, a builder working on Mr Geary's farm in Filgrave saw the dogs chasing sheep and biting them, before he eventually calmed them down.

Margaret Bankole, prosecuting, told the court: "The dogs were not returned to Mr Kingham because an order was to be sought to find out what the court would want done with these dogs. There was a danger that it would happen again with far more serious consequences."

Mr Kingham, who represented himself, said a vet who examined the dogs said they showed no sign of aggression and the kennel owners described them as ‘loving dogs’.

However, chairman of the magistrates Janet Mulley said due to the horrific
injuries they caused, and because it was the second time they had attacked livestock, an order would be made for them to be destroyed.

Mr Geary said afterwards: "It gives me no pleasure, knowing that I effectively signed the death warrant of a family's pets. But I am convinced if that was not done, someone else would be in the same position I was in last year."

Mr Kingham said it was unlikely that he would appeal against the court's decision.