Destruction of dog ordered after fatal attack on puppy in Slinfold

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Magistrates have ordered the destruction of a Staffordshire bull terrier that attacked and killed a puppy in Slinfold, according to police.

Julie Cooksley’s dog Benji escaped from her garden and mauled a 15-week-old Labrador puppy being walked by its owners, two girls aged 11 and 14, on 21 August, Sussex Police said.

The puppy was taken to a vet for treatment but died of her injuries the next day.

Police said they had previously warned Benji’s owner that she must keep control of her pet after the animal had attacked another dog.

Cooksley, 61, of Streetfield Road, Slinfold, was summonsed to appear in court and pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control.

She was fined £250 and ordered to pay £100 compensation, £85 costs and a £25 victim surcharge when she appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on December 31.

The magistrates also ordered that the dog should be destroyed. Cooksley has 21 days from the sentencing to appeal against the decision.

Inspector Di Lewis, the head of the Sussex and Surrey dogs unit, said: “We asked the magistrates to make an order for the destruction of the Staffordshire bull terrier as it was clear it had attacked other pets and could do so again.

“The dog killed the puppy and left its young owners traumatised by what they had seen and we felt it should be destroyed to protect the public and other animals.

“We do not make any such requests lightly but consider all the circumstances including whether the incident could be a one-off and whether the dog involved could do the same thing again.

“We encourage all owners to seek training for their dogs to ensure they are always kept under control. It is also important to make them familiar with other people and dogs.

“Unfortunately in this instance we believed that the dog could attack other animals or people in the future and the magistrates agreed with us.”

If you see a dog dangerously out of control in a public place please call 999. If you are worried about a dog that is not an immediate threat email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101.