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Friday, November 20, 1998 Published at 05:47 GMT


Rough justice for Woofie

Brigitte Bardot has become known for her animal defence campaign

Judges in Edinburgh will decide on Friday whether to overturn a court's decision to destroy a pet dog called Woofie for barking at a postman.

Scotland Correspondent Andrew Cassell: "Brigitte Bardot has offered to adopt Woofie"
The three-year-old cross collie has won high-profile support in the form of the French former actress Brigitte Bardot, who has flown to Edinburgh for the hearing.

Woofie's destruction was ordered in September under the UK's Dangerous Dogs Act. But her owners, Terry and Anne Swankie, from Peterhead, have appealed against the decision.

The BBC's Colin Blane: "It's unlikely Woofie will be destroyed"
The case has attracted massive publicity in Scotland and abroad as the campaign to save the dog has gathered momentum.

[ image: Anne Swankie: Prepared to give Woofie up to save her life]
Anne Swankie: Prepared to give Woofie up to save her life
Woofie, a black collie-boxer cross-breed, landed herself in the doghouse after escaping through a window at her home and running down the street barking at passers-by, including a postman.

At the resulting court case, the local sheriff ordered the dog to be destroyed prompting a wave of public sympathy in Scotland.

Tabloid newspapers rushed to the dog's defence. Letters of protest arrived at the courthouse in Peterhead and demonstrators made their feelings known outside the Edinburgh court where Woofie's fate will be decided.

[ image: Critics say
Critics say "Woolfie" is no lamb
Bardot, an animal rights campaigner, has offered to adopt the animal if it will help. "I am scandalised by the decision," she has said. "It's incredible. I cannot believe that the Scottish justice system could be so hard."

Woofie's owners say they would be happy to hand their pet over to Ms Bardot if it was the only way to save her.

They claim the dog is a docile family pet which - despite her bark - has never harmed anyone.

Critics, however, say the dog's real name is Woolfie suggesting she may not be as loveable as she is portrayed.

So far, neither the postman at the centre of the row nor his employers have commented on the case.

Inside a dog's mind

Mark Devenport reports on the new centre
Queen's University in Belfast has set up a canine behaviour research centre, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Staff have been studying dogs for 10 years and now want to consolidate their work, which includes looking at wild dogs such wolves, dingos and jackals, as well as domestic pets.

The centre also offers advice to owners of aggressive pets.

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