Greater Manchester Police yesterday shot 2 dogs dead, injured a third which escaped and seized 2 dogs. All were with a man who earlier had the dogs off lead in a park and there is short clip of them running at people outside a cafe, some barking and biting a woman and a man. It isn’t clear how bad the injuries were, but the owner’s behaviour is disturbing. Within 2 days Kent Police shot a dog that had grabbed a toddler by the head and caused serious injuries.
Updated to add comment on the Kent attack on toddler Victoria Resetnjova where the dog was also shot dead by Police.
As usual, social media was alight with speculation and comments. What amazes me is how many times people copy and repeat things posted by others as truth. Various versions, some reports say 6 dogs, some say 5. There was a photo of him with 3 of the dogs on a lead and this was used to slate the police who were said to have shot dogs that were under control. In fact another video clip, taken from a car at the scene, shows him indeed with 3 of the dogs on a lead crossing the road. It looks like Police are trying to get him to stop, as he crosses the road it isn’t clear whether he deliberately lets the dogs go or they pull away. But in a few seconds they are all loose and not trailing leads that I can see. The dogs are then loose and running about and he continues to walk away and is arrested.
An ex neighbour has reported that he had to keep reporting the owner to council and Police because of the behaviour of the dogs. He was eventually evicted. A woman doing a photography project had taken photos of 3 of his dogs in the park the previous week. She has posted on facebook about him breeding the dogs, treating them badly and how one was unhappy and growling.
Whatever the truth of all this is, two people were bitten, the owner is behaving strangely, not getting the dogs under control or listening to people asking him to get them on a lead and two end up dead. The news outlets are calling the dogs “pit bull types” although they don’t look it, but some people were shouting at the owner that they were pit bulls.
I hope the real story comes out. What I have seen shows a man with no control over his dogs and little interest in doing so. If the dogs had been under control, if the owner had a better attitude, this would not have happened. Sad and tragic all round.
There will be a full investigation and whether the police were right to shoot 3 of the dogs will be looked at. I will update if and when this happens.
Update 4th April
As more emerges it appears the owner is Daniel Hennesey. He has convictions for Drugs, threats and violence including doing jail time for a stabbing.
There are stories (not one witness for this, just the usual assertion of facebook posters) that a woman with a Shih Tzu had her dog off the lead and it ran at his 5 dogs to start a fight. In the video of all 5 dogs off lead as he approaches a group of people there is mention of a dog, but it isn’t in sight and it is his dogs that run around causing fear an there is one clear attempt or actual contact to bite the woman. He is repeatedly asked to leave with his dogs and if the people had not been as calm as they were, I think it could have been worse. There is no sight of leads or any attempt to remove or secure the dogs apart from his occasional shout.
There was a post being shared on facebook claiming to be from an “eye witness” that stated that they had seen the dogs shot when on lead. Firstly this person was traced to living in Newcastle and had never been anywhere near Bolton, secondly the videos show the dogs off lead. However that hasn’t stopped the police haters and others who can’t seem to evaluate all the information from repeating it.
The later videos show the shooting of two dogs after they are all off lead. Again there is a story that he dropped the leads when told to put his hands up, but the video evidence does not support that at this time.
Shooting dogs in this way does seem excessive and there will be investigations. The owner is to blame for this situation and the newspaper reports show he has tried to use his dogs as weapons in the past.
At this point there is no information on the dog that escaped the scene, which is being sought by Police.
Sadly another case appeared within a couple of days. Inside a children’s play area in Chatham, Kent an off lead dog grabbed a toddler by the head and shook her. Other children tried to get the dog off her, she was critical, is now stable but with serious injuries. A neighbour claimed in a newspaper interview that the same dog pushed her young child over and caused some scratches the day before. Allegedly police did visit her and took photos of the injury.
This dog was also shot by police and there is a version going round, shared by people as truth, again with no proof, that the dog was tied to a railing when shot. The sad photo of the dog dead and being covered with a tarpaulin does not seem to be of a dog tied to anything. However, there isn’t much else on this yet.
There is huge criticism of police for shooting dogs the public think could be caught with a pole and safely removed. I read a very sensible post saying how difficult these decisions must be when made at the scene and that the over riding principle of the Police in the moment is to protect the public. It does seem hard to accept that shooting dogs was the only option. Until these cases get to court and the full details are known, speculation will outweigh truth.
I continue to campaign for live assessments on dogs who have committed terrible mistakes, but they are usually destroyed quickly and we learn nothing.
This post talks more about my petition and how investigations could be improved