Faculty’s appeal service wins another chance for condemned dog

14 Dec

Eva the Bullmastiff


A DOG may be reprieved from a death sentence, after the Faculty’s Criminal Appeal Service provided free assistance to an animal charity.

Last year, Moira Hunter was convicted at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court of an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Her six-year-old Bullmastiff, Eva, had bitten another dog and its owner.

The sheriff fined Ms Hunter, banned her from owning dogs for five years and ordered destruction of Eva. The order was suspended pending further procedure.

After Ms Hunter was refused leave to appeal, an animal charity, Olive’s Fight Against BSL, took up her case and contacted the Criminal Appeal Service for urgent help. The Faculty formed the Service in 2014 as a “one-stop shop” for solicitors, and it handles the administration of an appeal, representation, and the instruction of counsel at court hearings.

With help from the Service, an application was made to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, and the Commission, after considering supplementary submissions, has referred the issue of the destruction order to the High Court.

“A viable alternative to accommodate and manage the risk posed by the dog having now been proposed, it appears to the Commission that the High Court may wish to consider substituting a contingent destruction order,” said the Commission.

Under a contingent order, requirements for the future control of the dog could be imposed and destruction would take place only if those requirements were not met.

Jacob Cohen, of the Criminal Appeal Service, who drafted the application and supplementary arguments, said: “This is an important case for this area of law. The Commission is asking the court to clarify the application of section 4 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 which deals with the imposition of contingent orders, meaning that this appeal has the potential to set a clear precedent for how such cases are to be dealt with in the future.

“A fresh Note of Appeal has been lodged, and an appeal hearing is estimated for March or April 2019. In the meantime, Eva continues to live a contented life within her kennels, where she is well loved and cared for, and visited regularly by Ms Hunter for cuddles.”