Woman Prosecuted Following Fatal Dog-on-Dog Attack

Local woman ordered to pay compensation and sign Acceptable Behaviour Contract

A woman whose dog attacked and killed a Yorkshire Terrier on Tooting Common earlier this year has been taken to court and ordered to pay compensation.

Carol Plummer of Foxbourne Road in Tooting was prosecuted by the council following a joint town hall and police investigation into May’s fatal attack by her Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Miss Plummer pleaded guilty to breaching Wandsworth’s parks and commons byelaws that are designed to ensure owners keep proper control of their dogs. Consideration was given to mounting the prosecution under the Dangerous Dogs Act but this legislation was not appropriate in this case.

The court heard from the defence that Miss Plummer had become a pariah in her neighbourhood after details of the incident were publicised widely on social media and also in the pages of a national newspaper. Her solicitor said she was truly remorseful over the events that day.

After hearing that she was on a low income and in receipt of benefits, magistrates ordered Miss Plummer to pay £250 compensation to the other dog owner. They ruled that because she was of such limited financial means a fine would not be appropriate and they decided against imposing any other penalty.

Prior to this week’s court hearing Miss Plummer signed an acceptable behaviour contract (ABC) to ensure her dog is kept under firm and strict control in future. Under the terms of the ABC she must:

• Keep her dog on a leash and muzzled at all times whilst in a public place
• Never leave it unattended in public
• Must ensure that her dog, or any other dog in her care, “does not attack, act aggressively towards or interfere with any other dog or animal”.

The contract also bans her from doing anything “which causes or is likely to cause nuisance, annoyance or harassment, alarm or distress to anyone”.

If these terms are breached either the council or the police could take further legal action against her.

Community safety spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “This was obviously a deeply traumatic incident for the owner of the Yorkshire terrier. The loss of her beloved pet must have been devastating for her.

“As soon as Miss Plummer was identified and traced we took immediate steps to ensure that her dog remains under very firm control whenever it is in a public place. The stringent rules she has agreed to abide by should ensure the safety of other pets in the area and minimise the risks of a repeat incident.

“If however, she breaches any of the terms of the agreement she has signed then tougher sanctions will almost inevitably follow very quickly.

“The council will not hesitate in taking legal action against owners who do not control their dogs properly or allow their pets to cause nuisance or harm to others.”

July 24, 2014