St Albans man loses fight to save dangerous dog from destruction

A PENSIONER faces life without his beloved pet after a legal battle to save his dog was dismissed at the Court of Appeal in London last Friday.

Albert Hill, 75, appealed when a judge at St Albans Crown Court in May ruled that Bobo, his Staffordshire bull terrier, should be destroyed after it bit an off-duty policeman who was out jogging in the city.

In August last year, Mr Hill lost control of Bobo whilst taking his pet for a walk outside his home on Marshalls Avenue when Detective Sergeant Michael Hanson went jogging past.

The dog lunged at the off-duty detective sergeant and bit his crotch area, causing three puncture wounds to his leg and bruising to the scrotum.

When reinforcements arrived at the scene, PC Kier tried to intervene and was also nipped in the shin.

The dog was brought under control for a few seconds by Mr Hill but soon broke free and jumped at a passer-by, whose trousers were ripped.

The pensioner – a former soldier who served in the 1956 Suez conflict – was allowed to take Bobo home once police restrained the dog and was later prosecuted for failing to keep Bobo under control.

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Mr Hill, who admitted two charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act of owning a dog which caused injury while being dangerously out of control, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and Bobo’s destruction was ordered in May of this year.

He appealed in the hope that Bobo’s life could be spared and his barrister Gopal Hooper asked the Court of Appeal if the elderly gentleman could instead be given an order to keep the pet on a lead whenever he left the house because Bobo had not caused any problems before or after the incident.

Lord Justice Gross confirmed that the destruction order would remain in place and said he had struggled to find an alternative to ending the dog’s life, but given the risks involved he had no choice but to approve the order.

Mr Hill and his wife are distraught about the decision and uncertain about the process that will now follow.

He said: “I’ve received no correspondence about the proceedings and I’m not sure what will happen next. I am frightened that they’ll just come in and whip Bobo away without any notice.”

The pensioner described how the situation had caused him and his wife a lot of stress: “I don’t see why, if I keep Bobo under control, this has to happen. I’m a responsible man and Bobo has always been good, apart from this one incident.

“It’s stressful and upsetting – we’ve been very upset and nobody cares that me or my wife have been in tears over this matter. We’ve looked after Bobo so well and we’ve got a large garden for him to run around it, but none of it seems to matter.”