Investigate Dog Control and Seizing Procedures within the Hastings District Council.
This petition had 1,589 supporters
As an example of this allegation, we refer to the seizing of "Dougie", a 4 year old boxer-cross. A much loved family dog as illustrated in the display photo who was seized on the 16th of May 2014 from Portsmouth Road, Flaxmere and has been impounded since this date. Dougie was allegedly seized under section 51A of the Dog Control Act 1996. His offence in this section being stated as applying to:
"A dog in a public place that—
(a)rushes at, or startles, any person or animal in a manner that causes—
(i)any person to be killed, injured, or endangered; or
(ii)any property to be damaged or endangered"
We strongly dispute this seizure due to the following points:
- -Dougie was and still is registered and microchipped and securely fenced behind a 6 ft fence at his property at all times and has never caused incident or trouble to other people or animals.
- -Dog control officers visited the property to speak to the owner about an alleged complaint - his owners were at work, however their 13 and 15 year old sons arrived home from school to see a dog ranger standing on top of his van and looking down over the 6 ft fence at Dougie. Understandably, the teenage boys along with the dog were alarmed and the situation started to escalate when one of the boys became "mouthy" to the dog ranger. The rangers then entered the property, and the alleged "rushing" incident occurred in as you can imagine a highly charged and stressful situation which two young boys found very difficult to deal with. When Dougie was hit about the head with a "catch pole" by the dog ranger, things escalated even further and the 13 year old son acted in defense of his dog without the benefit of maturity and Dougie, who at this point was hiding in his kennel, was then seized and is still being held in the pound.
- -We strongly suggest that most, if not all dogs, would bark and become alarmed upon strangers looking over their gate and/or entering their property - especially in such emotive circumstances such as this one - and that the charge of "rushing" is unjustified and inappropriate.
- -To date, the family have not received an incident report or the control officers names involved despite repeated requests.
- -Dougie has been held for 5 weeks at the Hastings District Council at a daily charge to the family. Their frequent attempts to resolve this situation by speaking to and writing letters to the Hastings District Council, dog control officers and the Hastings Mayor have not been suitably acknowledged, addressed or even answered.
- -Dougie is suffering immensely and has lost a lot of weight and now his voice, and his family are exceedingly stressed and devastated by the loss of their beloved dog and are struggling to cope, comprehend and find answers as to why this has happened.
- -The family have now been advised by the Hastings Council that Dougie is being retained under section 71 (2) of the Dog Control Act 1996 and the case is now going to court for prosecution for offense under section 57A of the act. Again, despite repeated pleas for answers as to why they are being taken to court, they have not been told. As quoted by the family "we are dumbfounded."
- -We are not satisfied and question how Dougie can be charged under section 57A given that the seizure occured with only young children present rather than adults. Also, this section states that a dog should be seized if it rushes in a manner that "endangers" the officers which Dougie did not - if anyone was endangered in this situation it was Dougie who was being hit with the catch pole and frightened.
- -Under section 71 (2) of the Dog Control Act 1996 that Dougie is now being retained under, the act states as follows: "Whilst the dog shall be kept in custody, it will be given proper care and exercise until prosecution is determined in court." - We do not believe such care has been taken of Dougie and question his deteriorating physical and mental condition. We ask when and how is Dougie exercised as stated in section 71 (2)? How is it that Dougie who is stated to be given "proper care" has ended up to have lost so much weight along with his voice?
- -The family were advised they could write a letter to the court to ask for Dougie's release into their care until the court date which can take up to 3 months. This letter was written and addressed to "Philip Evans: Community Safety Officer" and the family delivered the letter by hand on Thursday the 19th of June. To date they have received no reply despite several phone calls.
As a result of all of the above points, we are deeply concerned that loved family pets are being wrongfully seized in Hastings at times in front of their owners and some in a shocking and distressing manner that leaves long lasting pain, heartache and grief for these owners.
We all understand that there are most certainly dangerous, harmful dogs in our community that do need to be impounded and destroyed and that this is absolutely paramount to our safety and we fully respect and support this action of seizure of these dogs.
However we seek acknowledgement, sensitivity and respect that dogs also are loved and integral parts of our families. We spend and invest much time, love and money to raise them to well behaved dogs and the callous seizing of these pets is destroying many lives and causing irrevocable harm and suffering to us, as the owners, and the dogs as our beloved pets.
This is on behalf of all dog lovers out there. You can make a difference - help us to help our dogs see justice by signing this petition!
*** FREE DOUGIE!!!!!! ***
(and all other dogs like him receiving this unfair treatment!)
-WE ARE THEIR VOICE-
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