Owner vows to save dog from '˜death row'
A professional dog walker has vowed to fight the 'death sentence' imposed on her pet by magistrates.
Blackpool Magistrates last week ordered that eight-year-old Dogue de Bordeaux Lion be put down after he attacked a man in the car park at Freeport shopping outlet in Fleetwood.
Deborah Barnes-Dunne, 57, pleaded guilty to having a dog which was dangerously out of control.
In addition to the destruction order she received a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
She had already been ordered by the court to keep Lion muzzled and on a lead in public after the dog injured a child.
Despite the attacks, Ms Barnes-Dunne claims Lion is a peaceful elderly dog with hardly any teeth and that neither of his victims suffered serious harm. Now she is fighting against time to save him from a lethal injection.
Ms Barnes-Dunne, of Ullswater Avenue, Fleetwood, said: “I am heartbroken. I don’t know what I will do without Lion if he is killed. He is a wonderful dog and is not vicious at all.
“On the day of the incident, I was in the car park at the far end of Freeport when Lion was sick.
“I let him out of the car so that he wasn’t sick again inside.
“He saw the man and jumped up at him and knocked him over.
“I apologised and drew out some money to pay for damage to his clothes and thought that was the end of it.
“Lion doesn’t deserve to die for something like that.
“When the police came to take him away, I was heartbroken.
“I am determined to appeal against this, Lion should be allowed to grow old with me. He isn’t a danger to anyone – he is just soppy. It’s because he is so big that people think he is dangerous.”
The court heart that Barnes-Dunne was already on a suspended sentence at the time of the offence.
It was made in November 2015 when the dog attacked a child.
Sentencing guidelines for magistrates in England and Wales say that a destruction order can be made against a dog if the owner fails to keep it under control or it has a history of aggression.
Ms Barnes-Dunne has now instructed her solicitor to appeal against the order in a higher court.
She said: “I don’t care what it costs. I want to do everything I can to save Lion.
“He is on death row at the moment and it breaks my heart to think about him in kennels all alone without the people who love him.
“I have been warned that I could even end up in prison if the appeal goes against me, but that is a risk I am prepared to take for the sake of my dog.”