Dog owner sees pet reprieved

BULL terrier owner Mark Jeeves wept with relief after fearing his dog could be destroyed.Magistrates ruled the dog, Jake, was not dangerous and was under control before it spooked a horse on heath land.

BULL terrier owner Mark Jeeves wept with relief after fearing his dog could be destroyed.

Magistrates ruled the dog, Jake, was not dangerous and was under control before it spooked a horse on heath land.

Jeeves' court appearance comes after Princess Anne was fined £500 and ordered to pay £500 compensation after she admitted her English bull terrier, Dotty, attacked two children.

After hearing evidence from Alec Waters, a Cambridgeshire-based expert on the breed, bench chairwoman Wendy Tolliday acquitted Jeeves at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court.

After the trial, Jeeves, of Fernhill Close, Melton, told The Star. "I am just relieved this is all over.

"This has been a nightmare for the past eleven months. It should never have come to court."

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The two-year-old dog, raised by Jeeves from a puppy, was being walked on Sutton Heath when it was spooked by a pregnant horse, Alice, ridden by Judy Carroll.

Giving evidence, Jeeves, 37, told the court he turned round and saw the horse.

"I thought where's the dog," he said. He scrabbled to retrieve Jake who by this time was under the horse, which had reared in panic.

Prosecutor Kate Stephenson told the court the rider, fell to the ground and the startled horse galloped off.

Judy Carroll, witness for the prosecution, claimed Alice received veterinary treatment after her horse was bitten by the dog at the top of its leg in the confusion.

Mr Waters, an expert in breeding and judging the bull terriers for more than 40 years, claimed the dogs are reliable, friendly with humans, obedient and "the ideal family dog."

He said Jake was a passive dog, "grossly overweight", totally obedient and could barely jump.

"He has the most beautiful temperament. He is laid back. When he went into the room he laid down as if he lived there."

Jude Durr, for Jeeves, told magistrates the moment the horse and dog met both parties lost control of their animals through no fault of their own.

"There was no significant differences in the distance between Mrs Carroll and her dog and Mr Jeeves and his dog," he explained.

After the day-long trial the bench chaired by Ms Tolliday, found Jeeves, who had denied the allegation, not guilty.

"On the balance of probabilities we found your dog not dangerous and before the incident he was under control," she said.

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