Dog owners made emotional pleas at a vigil held at a Swindon park in memory of two pets shot dead by London police officers.

A group gathered at Lydiard Park on Sunday afternoon to speak out about the treatment of Staffordshire bull terriers Marshall (aged three) and Millions (nine months), who died after Metropolitan Police officers responded to a 999 call about an alleged animal attack in east London.

The campaigners want these officers to be held accountable for what they consider to be an unnecessary and extreme response, to improve training for officers attending animal-related calls, and to change the requirements for dogs held under Breed Standard Legislation. 

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Kelly Louise, Megan Edwards, Gina Pople, and Laura Hunt organised the event, which was one of around 100 vigils held across the UK over the weekend.

Kelly said: "When I heard about Marshall and Millions, I could not believe it, it's heartbreaking and devastating. 

"This was a tragedy but it can be a catalyst for change, let's unite and fight against corruption and police brutality.

"The vigil is a way to show Swindon's support for the cause.

"I have a bulldog and would not want any other type because they have so much personality and are great with my children."

Swindon Advertiser: Joanne Lees and her partner Rob at a vigil in Lydiard ParkJoanne Lees and her partner Rob at a vigil in Lydiard Park (Image: Newsquest)

The vigil's display moved Joanne Lees to tears. She and her partner Rob have an adopted American Bulldog called Porsha and previously looked after a Mastiff who they described as the most well-behaved pet they had ever known.

Joanne said: "People judge these dogs by their image, but ours are so friendly. What happened in London was so unnecessary and could have been handled differently.

"I've been against breed-specific legislation for years. Dogs are innocent, humans make them what they are."

Rasa Wilkins added: "I cried when I heard about this, those dogs had their whole lives ahead of them.

"I have four Sharpay, they're lovely, but now I don't feel safe taking them for walks during the day because of how people might react."

Swindon Advertiser: A group gathered to hear speeches and poems, and sign petitions at a vigil in Lydiard ParkA group gathered to hear speeches and poems, and sign petitions at a vigil in Lydiard Park (Image: Newsquest)

The IOPC will examine whether the actions of the officers involved were reasonable and proportionate in all of the circumstances and in line with relevant policy and procedure.

A spokesperson for the Met Police said last month: "As part of their enquiries to safeguard the public, local officers...spoke to a male who was in possession of the two dogs.

"Following this interaction, which failed to bring the dogs satisfactorily under control, police firearms officers destroyed the two dogs at the scene."

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