Pit bull owner loses High Court battle with St Helens Council

St Helens Star: Suki, the pit bull, is at the subject of a legal battle between its owner and St Helens Council Suki, the pit bull, is at the subject of a legal battle between its owner and St Helens Council

A WOMAN who had an unregistered pit bull type dog has lost the latest stage of a High Court battle to stop her pet being humanely destroyed.

Beverly Brough’s repeated attempts to stop the dog being put down follows legal hearings that stretch back 18 months.

She does have another right to appeal.

St Helens Council says the long running case ran up thousands in kennelling costs as they had to keep the animal while the legal saga dragged on.

Brough, aged 45, of Adelaide Avenue Thatto Heath, originally appeared before Knowsley Magistrates’ Court on June 1, 2012.

At the hearing she admitted being in charge of an unmuzzled and unregistered female pit bull type dog, named Suki, on October 17, 2011 in Randon Grove, St Helens.

According to St Helens Council, she had previously been questioned about her dog on October 21, 2011 outside Wesley House in St Helens town centre.

At that time she gave false details to Dog Wardens, claiming to be Donna Dawson of Thatto Heath.

She later stated in court this was her "stage name".

During the court hearing, Brough agreed the dog was a pit bull type dog after her own 'expert witness' deemed it to be so.

She also gave evidence that she was not in a position to care for the dog and asked that the dog be transferred in to the hands of her daughter Abbey Brough.

The law on banned breed dogs states that a section 1 dog under the Dangerous Dog Act 1991 may not be sold, offered, given away or exchanged.

A district judge, on hearing evidence given by St Helens Council Dog Wardens, police and kennel staff, deemed the dog to be a danger to public safety and ordered it be destroyed.

Brough appealed the decision and the matter was put before Liverpool Crown Court, which upheld the initial ruling.

But the dog owner contested the matter again – taking the appeal to the High Court in London and on Friday, November 29 it went before the Royal Courts of Justice.

Judges dismissed the appeal, upholding the ruling that the the pit bull, which has been held in secure kennels for more than two years at St Helens Council’s expense, should be humanely destroyed.

In a statement, Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, cabinet member for environment and neighbourhoods, said: “These cases are extremely delicate.

“We are dealing with dogs that are kept as pets but are illegal to own without going through the court process.

“The court will take in to account all representations and make the final decision which is just what has happened here.

“We have kennelled and maintained the dog for over two years, allowing the owner every opportunity to explore the legal process.

“Thousands of pounds are spent on a single dog in order to follow due process.”

Mindful of the tragedy seven years ago in which five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson was killed by a pit bull dog, he added: “In this borough we are very mindful of what can happen when Pit Bull type dogs are kept in the community.

“Public safety is our priority and if residents have concern about dogs of this type they should contact Merseyside Police Dog Section on 0151 709 6010."

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