The Dagerous Dogs Act insists that aggressive animals are muzzled
The case of Woofie, the three-year-old cross collie, is the latest in a series of high-profile cases since the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act which was brought in to curb the menace of aggressive dogs.
The act stipulated that certain breeds of dog should be muzzled and made it an offence to allow a dog to
be dangerously out of control in a public place.
Other cases include:
Buster: Saved from a death sentence in March this year after a battle
lasting nearly four years and costing up to £50,000. When the dog, owned by
Sandra Rowlands, of Kirkby, Merseyside, was seized in 1994, a magistrate ruled
that the animal was a pit bull terrier and should be destroyed because it had
been allowed out without a muzzle. But another magistrate ruled that Buster
should be released.
Hanky Panky: This February a judge reversed a sentence ordering it to be
put down. Last October magistrates ruled that the labrador-foxhound cross, owned
by Elaine Enticknap, of Totnes, Devon, would have to die, after hearing how it
had twice bitten postmen in the past four years. A judge ruled that it could
live but should be rehoused in an escape-proof home.
Kizzie: Freed by the High Court in October, 1996 after spending four years
under threat of death after it was alleged to be a pit bull terrier. The dog was
ordered to be returned to its owner, Jeanette Cragg, of Tottenham, north London,
after two judges ruled that the destruction order issued by a stipendiary
magistrate was an abuse of court powers. Kennel Club vets disagreed with a
police expert who decided it was a pit bull, saying it was "weedy" with a weak
jaw and no signs of aggression.
Otis: Destroyed in February 1996 after being on death row for more than
three years. The dog was seized as a pit bull type terrier unmuzzled in the back
of owner Harry Bates's car. Mr Bates, who spent £50,000 trying to save it,
contended his car was not a public place, and that Otis was not a pit bull
terrier, but an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights failed because it
should have been lodged within 14 days of the dog's seizure.
Dempsey: Saved in November 1995 when two High Court judges ruled that it
should be returned to its owner Dianne Fanneran, of Hanwell, west London. The
pit bull terrier was originally condemned to destruction by Ealing magistrates
in 1992 after being found walked in the street without a muzzle by Mrs
Fanneran's nephew. Magistrates were told the muzzle had been removed because the
dog was sick. The High Court judges decided that there had been a breach of
natural justice because Mrs Fanneran had not been informed of a hearing by