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Appeal over destruction order for ‘missing’ dog that attacked pensioner rejected

Wilma Donald and her dog Chance.
Wilma Donald and her dog Chance.

An appeal to overturn a destruction order for a dog, which attacked a pensioner and her pet and then went missing before it could be put down, has been refused.

Brave Ellon pensioner Wilma Donald used herself as a human shield in a bid to protect her Scottie dog, Chance, when it was set upon by a Pharaoh Hound owned by one of her neighbours.

Chance suffered injuries to his neck and back, and Wilma herself was also bitten on the ankle and arm before a passerby tried to pull the hound away, while its owner, Susan Stephen or Allan, 61, stood and watched.

Allan, whose address was given in court papers as Swan Road, Ellon, previously pled guilty to being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control and which repeatedly bit Mrs Donald and a male to their injury.

She was fined £320, and Sheriff William Summers also imposed a destruction order for her Pharaoh Hound, Jasper, to be put down.

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Susan Stephen or Allan.

Jasper then went missing, and Allan appealed against the destruction order part of the sentence, meaning the order was put on hold.

But a spokeswoman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service has now confirmed that appeal has been refused, with the original destruction order reimposed.

However, it is understood the animal is still missing.

‘No justice whatsoever’

Reacting to the appeal news, Wilma said: “Well it should be put down. She shouldn’t have done what she did.

“Imagine appealing for a dog when it’s not there.”

Asked how the appeal itself had made her feel, Wilma replied: “Angry, like I’m a nobody, I don’t count, my dog doesn’t count. No justice whatsoever.”

But now the appeal has been knocked back and the destruction order reimposed Wilma said she felt “good”.

However, she added: “The dog’s not destroyed yet. I’d rather see the dog put down.

“You’re looking over your shoulder still and wondering when it’s going to appear.

“There’s no justice.”

Crown narrative

Fiscal depute Alan Townsend previously told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “At 3pm on March 26 Mrs Donald was walking alone with her dog on Swan Road in Ellon.

“As she came parallel with 51 Swan Road she observed the accused walking two dogs.

“The accused appeared unsteady on her feet and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

“The accused’s dogs pulled on the lead to the point the accused had to let go or she would have been dragged over.

“As the dogs became free they immediately made for Mrs Donald and her small Scottie dog.

“Both the accused’s dogs were barking aggressively.

“When they reached her the pharaoh hound viciously attacked her dog, leaving it with a number of injuries to its neck and back.

“Mrs Donald tripped over both dogs in an attempt to protect her dog. Lying on the ground she tried to lie over her dog.

“As she protected her dog the pharaoh hound directed its attack towards her and proceeded to bite her to the ankle and arm.

“The attack did not break the skin however did leave bruising.”

Mr Townsend said a man walking along the street at the time tried to intervene and pull the dog away from her.

He added: “However the dog turned on him and bit his wrist, breaking the skin.

“The accused stood back and watched and did not try to intervene.

“She eventually did regain control of both dogs and returned to her address.”

Police were called and when they charged Allan she replied: “I’m sorry. I’m used to being in the country.”

Mitigation

Speaking during the original sentencing hearing, defence agent Stuart Flowerdew outlined steps taken since the incident to ensure there was no repeat, including the dog only being walked by Allan’s husband, and it wearing a muzzle.

He said: “Where there has been danger, it’s been dealt with appropriately, and training will continue.”

Mr Flowerdew argued that Allan had made an “appropriate response” to the incident and that the dog was “not a danger to the public”.

He added that Allan’s failure to react and intervene at the time had been due to shock.

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