Tayside and Central Scotland

Falkirk veteran's dog to be put down after attack

Robert Brown
Image caption Robert Brown admitted that his dog was dangerously out of control

A pet Labrador belonging to an 84-year-old man is to be put down after it attacked a small girl.

The dog jumped on the five-year-old and bit her outside owner Robert Brown's flat in Falkirk last December.

Brown, who admits his pet Levi was dangerously out of control at the time, offered to give the dog away to a more able owner if it could be spared.

But Sheriff William Gallacher said he was left with "no option" but to order its death.

Fiona De Gaetano, prosecuting, had told Falkirk Sheriff Court that the girl and her mother had been returning from the Falkirk Wheel at about 17:30 on 6 December when the attack took place.

The depute fiscal said: "A large black dog came running through the door. It jumped onto the girl and it bit her on the rear of her right leg, causing her to fall to the ground."

'Deep scratches'

She said the girl's mother managed to shoo away the dog. She then called a friend to take them to the ambulance, before speaking to Brown as she left.

The fiscal added: "He said 'The dog doesn't listen to me, and there's nothing I could do about it'.

"He expressed his concern about losing the dog."

The girl had two deep scratch marks on her leg after the incident.

Solicitor-advocate Steven Biggam, defending, said his client was "deeply apologetic" about the incident, and that the dog had only got out as a neighbour had came into Brown's house and left the door open.

Mr Biggam said: "He feels he's let his animal down by not being able to control it.

"He would be willing to give up the dog, although it would be difficult for him, to the Scottish SPCA to care for, if it meant the dog survived.

"The dog is the only thing he has left in his life."

The court had heard that the sheriff clerk's office had been bombarded with emails from the "dog-ameniable section of society" after Brown went public to appeal for the dog to be kept alive.

But Sheriff Gallacher said that "with regret" he had no option but to order the dog should be destroyed, after hearing Brown's dog had been out of control on two previous occasions.

Sheriff Gallacher said: "This legislation was brought in to protect members of the community and your dog has caused identifiable injuries to a child.

"I have been asked to consider another option, of sending the dog elsewhere. Mr Brown I regret I cannot accede to that."

'Absolutely devastated'

He banned Brown from keeping animals for a period of three years but admonished him because he said ordering Levi to be destroyed was enough punishment.

After the decision was made, Brown unsuccessfully tried to reason with the sheriff.

He said from the dock: "I've always had a dog since I was a wee boy. I can still care from them."

Brown took over the care of the dog from his grandson, who was then serving in 42 Commando in Afghanistan.

Outside court, the World War II veteran said he was "absolutely devastated" at the sheriff's ruling.

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