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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Cumbrian death-row dogs are spared

DOGS sentenced to death for mauling and killing another animal have been given a last minute reprieve.

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Raymond Dobinson: Appealed to save dogs

The good news for three Rottweilers who viciously killed a tiny Chihuahua followed a court appeal by their owner.

Raymond Dobinson, 59, of Great Clifton – who owned 24 Rottweilers at the time of the attack – had been ordered to have three of them destroyed for a savage attack on a Chihuahua named Theo in April last year.

But Judge Barbara Forrester, sitting with magistrates at Carlisle Crown Court

David Stevens, who has dealt with hundreds of dangerous dog cases, had inspected Mr Dobinson’s house on William Street and made several recommendations which have now been put in place.

He said: “It’s a very unfortunate incident and nobody likes to see a dog attacked.

“But these dogs have impeccable manners.

“Most dogs have that are owned by the public have failed this test. This is very stringent. I don’t take any prisoners on my assessments.”

Mr Stevens said he was “absolutely” satisfied with the measures taken by Mr Dobinson to avoid a similar incident.

The recommendations include double steel-plated spring-loaded gates.

The court heard that Mr Dobinson had looked after Rottweilers for more than two decades and is now looking after 20. Many of the dogs were rescue dogs and had been re-homed by Mr Dobinson.

Judge Forrester said: “The incident was effectively a one-off and steps have been taken to ensure that it does not happen again.

“I’m satisfied that the dogs have not previously exhibited any aggressive behaviour and that the appears to have a history of good care and control of dogs.”

Dick Binstead, prosecuting, and Keith Thomas, representing Mr Dobinson, agreed that the magistrates court should have considered a “contingent destruction order” with conditions in the first place.

Karen Wedgwood, of Great Clifton, had been on a family walk with her husband, young daughters and niece when the attack happened.

The court heard that five Rottweilers bounded through an open gate, three of which lunged for Theo.

The tiny dog was on a lead held by Mrs Wedgwood’s seven-year-old niece who received counselling after the attack.

Mrs Wedgwood had said that the sight of her dog being thrown around like a rag doll by a pack of dogs would stay with her for the rest of her life.

Mr Dobinson rushed out and managed to release Theo and bring his dogs under control. But Theo suffered multiple puncture wounds and died two days later.

The court heard that Mrs Wedgwood had trouble sleeping, and was on antidepressants.

The court imposed several conditions to protect the public in addition to the measures already put in place by Mr Dobinson.

The dogs must be microchipped and be muzzled in public. Each dog is also to be under the supervision of a person aged 18 or older and must be held on a nylon or leather lead no more than two metres in length with a buckle fastener. One person is to have supervision and control of no more than one dog in one place.

Mr Dobinson declined to comment as he left court.