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Dog is now home and happy (lost a bit of weight and has kennel cough, but he's basically ok). My partner received a community resolution order. We're all so relieved.
Good news (I know people may be interested to hear outcome). Police rang today to say our dog will be returned within 48 hours with advice to always walk him on a 'thick' non-extendable lead. Partner will receive a low level community order of some sort. Police have advised us to consider a muzzle so this can't happen again. So relieved and excited to be getting our little dog back after four and a half weeks. Buying sausages in the morning :)
Another update. 'The casefile has been submitted' turns out to mean 'the file of evidence has been sent to the DS at the Dog unit who hasn't yet assessed your dog . The case is not going to the CPS... it will most likely result in a voluntary order (keep the dog muzzled/on lead/ etc) and don't worry, it's very unlikely to go to court and you'll have your little dog back within the next week'. Feeling a lot calmer.
Just to update. According to the solicitor we've spoken to, the Met's Dog unit don't release dogs they've kennelled under the Dangerous Dogs Act, even if they've been assessed as not dangerous enough to warrant being kept until a court hearing, as they don't have the resources. However, a solicitor we've found, who has direct access to the Dog unit, can pressure them to do so (for £200), so we've started this process and are hoping it works. I assume the lack of resources is down to government funding priorities, but it's very bad that only those who can afford £200 can do this.
Winterbells posted a topic in In The Eyes Of The Law (UK Excluding Scotland)Two months ago three little boys ran past my partner who was standing the park with our dog who was on his lead, sniffing the grass. The dog must have got spooked, as before my partner realised what was happening, the dog suddenly jumped up at the smallest boy as he ran past (last), making contact with his arm. My partner yanked the lead to get the dog away and the children continued to run on, with the smallest boy saying to his pals as he ran 'ooh...that dog just scratched me!'. The dog is a 2 yr old very small Jack Russell cross breed, approx 13" to the shoulder and has no history of aggression. My partner, who was heading in the same direction as the kids, was unable to ask them if the little one was ok, because they'd already rounded a corner and vanished (presumably into one of the houses nearby) by the time he'd got round the corner himself (we're not spring chickens). The police arrived 2 months later with a warrant to seize the dog, which they did. They expressed surprise at how small, 'lovely' and 'obviously not dangerous' he was when they saw him, but explained that the mother had taken the child to the doctor the next day, has shown the police a photograph of an injury on the child's arm and the child is now traumatised and unable to sleep for nightmares. She had worked out where we live and reported the incident to the police who were obliged to follow it up as an aggravated section 3 crime under the Dangerous Dogs Act. My partner and the dog went to the police station where the dog was put into the temporary station kennel and my partner was voluntarily interviewed under caution, where he told the police what had happened. There's no argument on our part that an incident happened between our dog and the child and we understand the law. The police constable in charge of the operation initially told us (before he'd seen the dog) that he may be kennelled for 4 to 6 weeks. Then, once he'd seen him, his estimate reduced to 2-4 weeks. Then the Duty Dog Handler who came into the house said 'oh, they'll be able to assess him in an hour! he's lovely isn't he?' I queried the discrepancy in their timings, and the Police constable said 'Look, you seem like lovely people, the dog is clearly not dangerous, you let us in, you've co-operated with us, you're responsible owners, you could get him back in 2-4 days, I'll do my best to get him back to you asap, but it could be 2 weeks'. Nevertheless, we are beside ourselves with worry as well as really sorry to hear that our dog hurt the little boy. My partner was shown the (very blurred) photo, but it was hard to see what was what - 3 little red marks... possibly a scratch from the dog's paw as he pulled him back, although the mother insists it's a bite. Nevertheless, we understand that according to the law, scratch or bite - this is still an injury and worse still, to a 7 year old child. We heard nothing over the next 2-3 days, so we emailed the PC, who said he would ring the kennels for an update and get back to us. We heard nothing, so I emailed again. After no response, my partner went to the police station where the PC on the desk made reassuring noises about the likely outcome, but because 'our' PC was on duty my partner wasn't able to talk to him. The next day I received an email from 'our' PC who said that he understood our concerns, 'the case file has been submitted' and he has asked the Dog Support Unit to contact us asap. They haven't yet. It's now been 5 days since the dog was seized. I know this is no time at all compared to the norm, but we are so concerned about our dog because he's so tiny and shivery and pathetic, we can't bear to think of him being without us and vice versa, We understand that this could well go to court, so we're assuming 'the case file has been submitted' means 'to the CPS'. What we don't know is does this mean the case is definitely going to court? and if so, does this mean we won't get our dog back until the court decides what the sentence should be and what should happen to the dog? The PC on the desk at the station said that if we get our dog back, there is no danger of him being destroyed, even if we humans go to court. But now that we've heard the case file has been submitted, we're assuming this must mean court, and therefore no return of our dog for a long time - if ever. We're very confused about how the whole process works and more than anything are desperate to have our family pet back home. We would be more than happy to train him to be muzzled in future and to make extra sure he's nowhere near people, especially children as we'd hate for something like this to ever happen again. Any info or advice would be gratefully received. Sorry that was such a long saga and thank you to anyone who reads it and responds. We're in London, if that's relevant.