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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Cumbrian man told to destroy dogs which killed chihuahua

A man has been ordered to destroy three of his rottweilers which were involved in a “nasty and sustained” attack which killed another family’s pet chihuahua.

Raymond Dobinson, 59, who has 24 rottweilers at his home in William Street, Great Clifton near Workington, pleaded guilty to being the owner or person in charge of dogs dangerously out of control in a public place.

West Cumbria Magistrates’ Court ordered him to pay compensation towards vet’s bills and the cost of the chihuahua of £474.98, fined £100 plus £150 costs and £15 surcharge. Two of his other rottweilers have been placed under a control order which states they must be supervised by an adult and placed on a lead and muzzled while in any public place.

Chairman of the bench Mark Gear said: “You identified three of your dogs being involved in a nasty and sustained attack on a small dog being walked by its family in a public place.

“With regards to Ebony, Paris and Rio we are satisfied that a court order is not sufficient to protect the public.”

Katrina Wedgwood, of Great Clifton, was walking her chihuahua, Theo, and her other dog, a border collie, with her husband Wayne on July 9. They had their two young daughters in a pram and their seven-year-old niece was walking slightly in front of them with Theo. When they passed Dobinson’s property, which is home to 24 rottweilers, a group of the dogs ran out and attacked Theo.

Stuart Pattinson, prosecuting, said their niece was screaming hysterically when the dogs ran out and dropped Theo’s lead.

In a statement read out in court Ms Wedgwood said: “Theo may only be a dog but he was part of our family, he went everywhere with me and my daughters.

“It breaks my heart to see them so upset and always asking where Theo is.”

Mr Pattinson said that Ms Wedgwood had been prescribed anti-depressants following the incident and her niece had received counselling. He said Theo had great sentimental value to the family as he had been bought following a miscarriage.

He added: “It has had such a profound effect on the family and it is going to be with them for some time.”

Mike Woolighan, defending, described Dobinson as a responsible and caring dog owner who was apologetic and deeply sympathetic about the incident. He said nothing like this had ever happened before.

He added all his dogs were kept in secure pens inside a compound and on the day in question his 12-year-old daughter had gone in to feed some of the other dogs but had failed to close one of the gates behind her.

Mr Woolighan said that since that day Dobinson had taken steps to address this and has installed spring-shut gates which cannot be left open.

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