The owner of a dangerous dog which savaged a poodle to death has escaped a jail sentence.
Texas, a Staffordshire bull terrier, attacked the poodle-cross on May 9 last year, in Wormholt Park, which led to the dog dying from severe injuries.
The staffy’s owner, Margaret Docherty, of Adelaide Grove, Shepherd’s Bush, denied having a dog dangerously out of control but was found guilty in January and was sentenced at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (February 10) to a year-long conditional discharge. She was also ordered to pay £4,030 in compensation and costs.
The 59-year-old, who is said to be devastated, must now keep Texas muzzled and on a lead when in public and is banned from Wormholt Park. If she fails to comply the dog will be put down.
A spokesman from Hammersmith & Fulham Council said: “Officers from our parks police service worked closely with the council to ensure this case was brought before the courts.
"The borough’s many parks are places where people should be able to visit without fear or concern for safety and this conviction shows our commitment to ensuring they remain so.”
Staffordshire bull terriers were bred in 19th century Britain as fighting dogs but the Kennel Club says they are not naturally aggressive and were one of the only breeds it recommended as suitable around children.
The RSPCA opposes legislation which brands specific breeds as dangerous and blames owners for their pets being dangerous.
A spokesman told getwestlondon : "We want governments to adopt an approach that recognises that any individual dog, irrespective of breed or type, can display aggression towards people, and that responsibility for this lies with the owners."
The council parks police encourage dog owners to be responsible and work alongside the Dogs Trust to hold regular events across the borough’s parks, offering services including free microchipping and advice on proper training. They can be contacted on 0300 3655 101 or email@example.com