A FATHER has spoken of his heartbreak after the court ordered the destruction of his beloved dog, despite the dog never having attacked anyone.
Magistrates made the order after saying there was a perceived risk to the man’s young child.
Thomas Hook, of Coronation Road, Wroughton, was handed a destruction order for his two-year-old dog Teddy in a hearing at Swindon Magistrates Court yesterday.
The black and white dog, initially thought to be an American bulldog, was seized on February 5 under suspicion of being a banned breed.
Following police examination, Teddy was reclassified as a Pitbull.
Despite a glowing report from police kennels and no history of attacks oraggressive behaviour, magistrates decided that Teddy could pose a risk to Thomas’ four-year-old daughter who lives with him and his partner.
Thomas, 21, said he was emotional at facing the prospect of losing the “happy-go-lucky” dog.
“I am distraught, devastated," he said.
“I was 95 per cent sure that he would be allowed home. And to hear that made me so angry. He is not a danger to anyone and I will prove that,” he said.
“He is my daughter’s best friend, she uses him as a pillow. I’m in pieces now this has happened.
“The most injury Teddy could inflict is from wagging his tail. It hurts that he hasn’t done anything wrong and he is being punished for it.
“That’s why I called him Teddy, he has the softest, sweetest nature. He has never shown any aggression to anyone.
“We have told my daughter that Teddy was on a special mission with the police to stop her getting upset. She still cries about him and she misses him.”
Thomas said he was unaware when he bought Teddy that he was anything other than an American bulldog.
“I was told he was a pure American bulldog, I was responsible and thought I had made sure I did not have a banned breed.
“I would never have bought a dog if I had any suspicion that it was a banned breed,” said Thomas.
Thomas now plans to appeal against Teddy’s death sentence.
And he has vowed to fight on to bring Teddy home, setting up a Facebook page “Teddy by name, Teddy by nature” to raise funds.
“I’ve had him since he was 11 weeks old. This is the longest he has ever been away from me and I miss him every single day,” he said.
“I will bankrupt myself to get my dog back, I will do anything to make sure he can be back at home with his family,” he said
At Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, PC Steve Duffy, of the Wiltshire Police Dog Unit, said he felt the dog could be returned home if certain conditions where met, such as the animal being neutered and only allowed in public with a muzzle.
However, chairman of the bench Geoff Earl was not satisfied the youngster was completely safe.
He said: “PC Duffy has made a strong argument but we have been left with this one major fear.
“If there was only you and your partner there would not be a problem but the presence of a four-year-old child gives us great concern and we do not believe it is safe to make an exception in this case.”
An appeal can be launched with 21 days and would be heard at Swindon Crown Court.