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Notting Hill Dogs ordered to be destroyed due to "clerical error"
Press Release 30th September 2008
More heartache and turmoil occurred this weekend for owners of dogs seized during this years Notting Hill Carnival as they waited to see if a "clerical error" had claimed the lives of their family pets. The owners had all attended West London Magistrates Court on 17th August where a judge ordered all the dogs lives to be spared provided they where entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs (IED). However instead of paperwork to complete the process of registration, a number of owners opened their post to find orders for their dog's destruction.
Early on Saturday morning the first calls came through to DDA Watch from terrified owners wanting to know if their pets had been killed. Owners were advised to contact the relevant police station however despite repeated attempts worried owners could not speak to anyone who could help if they could speak to anyone at all. As the matter was of utmost urgency with dogs lives hanging in the balance, DDA Watch contacted experienced DDA Solicitor Tina Hay of Wheldon Law, Hemel Hempstead, to assist the owners in receipt of the orders and gain confirmation that their dogs, and other dogs seized at Notting Hill, would not be destroyed. Meanwhile DDA Watch attempted to contact as many owners as possible to let them know the issue was being dealt with.
Ms Hay immediately made attempts to contact the Dog Section but was greeted with an answer machine where she left an urgent message outlining the issues. Further calls to the custody sergeant at West Drayton and then the central number for Hillingdon proved unsuccessful as no one was in a position to help.
Finally on Sunday Ms Hay eventually managed to contact the officer in charge, PC McParland, after obtaining his mobile number. PC McParland agreed that the orders where incorrect and said it appeared to be was a clerical error. He assured Ms Hay that none of the dogs should have destruction orders and that he would ensure the matter is corrected. He also put minds at rest as he confirmed that none of the dogs had been destroyed. After 36 hours of not knowing if their dogs were still alive the news was greeted with relief and anger.
Kathryn White had received a message from DDA Watch and had opened the letter at the same time. She immediately rang through to request help. Ms White also made attempts to contact the dog section on Saturday and Sunday but had no news until Ms Hay contacted her late on Sunday. Ms White says
"When I opened the letter I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I didn't know if Chi had been destroyed already and if she hadn't I had no idea if I could stop it. I didn't know what to do and my hands where shaking. At the same time I was checking my phone messages and found one from DDA Watch telling me to contact them, that they were aware of the letters and were dealing with it. I rang them right away and they put me in touch with Tina Hay. I heard late Sunday that Chi was alive but it was the worst weekend of wondering I have ever had. I did not get a return call from the police until Monday by which time I already knew she was ok. This error should never have happened and now the shock has worn off, I'm angry that this happened in the first place"
Ms Hay also made enquiries relating to rumours that had reached DDA Watch and Endangered Dogs Defence and Rescue of an often fatal virus spreading among the dogs held in secluded kennels. PC McParland confirmed that one of the kennels has an outbreak of canine parvo virus and that six dogs are currently under veterinary care. He stated that the kennels are now on "shut down" and suits have been issued to the kennels involved in order to help prevent further contamination. He could not give further details on the dogs affected other than stating that none of the dogs seized at Notting Hill are currently showing signs of the virus.
Although this clerical error has not resulted in the deaths of any dogs clerical error has claimed the life of at least one dog held under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Last year, Jeanette and Stephen Hardwick's pet dog , Oscar was put to sleep after being logged into the computer as a stray by mistake. Parvo Virus also struck Merseyside kennels following an amnesty for people to hand in their dogs which resulted in the deaths of several dogs.
DDA Watch and EDDR are continuing to offer advice and support to owners of dogs held under Dangerous Dogs Act Legislation and will be covering the cost of the legal representation needed in order to ensure these destruction orders are not carried out and registration onto the IED is commenced as the Magistrates judge stated. The bill is likely to exceed £300. If you can help by making a donation to the fund to cover legal representation. Please make a cheque payable to:
'Endangered Dogs Defence & Rescue Ltd'
and post to:
Post Office Box 1544
Please mark the back of your cheque -'solicitor' and supply your name and address to enable issue of receipt.
If you wish to make a donation on line please click here to use PayPal the email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further details – please contact:
DDA Watch – Alison Green
Tel: 0844 844 2900 - Email: email@example.com
Dogs Worldwide.com - (Correct at time of publication)
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