Reprieve for pet dog
A DOG owner has been allowed to keep his pit bull-type pet after magistrates ruled that it does not pose a danger to the public.
Jamie Sharples, aged 21, of Wardham Close, Westhoughton, had pleaded guilty to owning a designated fighting dog and a special hearing was held to decide whether Ty should be destroyed or put on the exemption register.
Richard Briden, prosecuting, said the dog posed a risk to Sharples' one-month-old daughter, but the exemption register only covered a danger to the public and not those within his own home.
Sharples told the court that the dog had never been aggressive and had been supervised around young children, including his niece and nephew.
He said: "I will keep the dog and baby away from each other.
"I trained him myself and if he tried to bite anyone I would have him put down. I would not take the chance that he could do it again.
"I have never had any trouble with him, he just likes to chill with me."
Police and dog wardens seized 15-month-old Ty from a house in The Pewfist, Westhoughton, on April 3, after housing officers received a complaint about a pit bull terrier-type dog.
The court heard that Sharples, who has owned the dog for 12 months, was unaware it was a pit bull-type dog, but experts found it came under the Dangerous Dogs Act, although it was not a pure breed.
Dr Roger Mugford, who is an expert on dog breeds, said: "The owner can be forgiven for not knowing the dog type. It is an expert knowledge.
"As a puppy it would not have been apparent to me, let alone Sharples. It is a cross between a Staffordshire bull terrier and a boxer.
"I did some tests on the dog and I found him to be delightful."
Ty has been living in kennels for five months while the court case has been ongoing, and Lara Smith, defending, told the court that Ty had dropped from 28kg to 18kg.
Magistrates decided to put the dog on the exemption register, which means Sharples must have the Ty neutered, microchipped, tattooed, insured and muzzled, and on a lead at all times in public. If the conditions are breached the dog will be destroyed.
Sharples was given a 12-month conditional discharge.
After the hearing Sharples, who will get Ty back in a few weeks, said: "I feel really happy that Ty will finally be able to come home after six months of not knowing.
"He has not been treated well when he has been in the kennels, but hopefully he will be back to his usual self soon."