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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 January, 2004, 09:44 GMT
Safeways sued over dog injury
Susan and Gordon Musselwhite with Muffin
A Devon couple are to face supermarket giant Safeway in court on Monday over an injury to their pet dachshund.

Gordon and Susan Musselwhite claim their dog Muffin was partially paralysed jumping for Safeway leaflets posted through the letterbox of their home.

Retired company director Gordon Musselwhite, 62, and his 61-year-old wife Susan issued a 2,826.65 claim against the supermarket in the small claims division of Plymouth County Court.

The case is due to be heard before a district judge in Plymouth when the couple will be representing themselves.

Mr Musselwhite maintained there was no need for the leaflets to be delivered to his home as there was a post box at the start of his 140 ft drive in Yealmpton, Devon.

It is a win or lose situation and we will lay it to rest one way or the other
Susan Musselwhite

Mr Musselwhite, whose pet was injured in December 2001, said his claim was for vet's bills and legal expenses.

He said on the day of the incident he found Muffin, now seven-and-a-half years old, on the floor of the hallway paralysed from the shoulders downwards.

There were teeth marks on the leaflets protruding through the letterbox, and Muffin later underwent surgery to have a disc removed, he said.

His wife said she was pleased that they would have their day in court over the issue.

"We have told the truth right the way through," she said, adding: "It has aged us.

"It is a win or lose situation and we will lay it to rest one way or the other."

Mrs Musselwhite added that they had received letters and telephone calls of support.

Safeway has said in a statement: "Mr Musselwhite alleges that Safeway is responsible for injury caused to one of the family pets, named Muffin.

"We do not consider there to be any liability on the part of Safeway.

"The leaflet was actually delivered by the National Leaflet Co, but regardless, we feel what has happened to Muffin was merely an unfortunate incident for which no party can be held responsible.

"Apart from the liability issue, there is also question of causation - Mr Musselwhite would need to prove that the injury was caused in the manner alleged.

"In all circumstances, we firmly resisted any payment and advised any legal action against the company will be strenuously defended."

Damages claim over injured dog
03 Jul 03  |  Devon

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