Travesty of Justice? Dog to Die for Attacking Cat
A Scottish dog will soon be killed because he escaped from his family's garden and attacked a neighbor's cat. That's the final word from an Edinburgh appeals court that upheld an earlier death sentence for the August attack, which left the cat with serious injuries.
The 3-year-old dog has no other history of violence. He went exploring after a visitor inadvertently left the gate open, and he came upon a cat, and unfortunately did what some dogs will do. He has been in a kennel, away from his family, since being found with the cat in his mouth.
Owner Tracy Jackson broke down crying when the judge refused to change the death sentence. She said she and her 15-year-old daughter had been trying to be optimistic, but were "totally gutted" at the decision.
Defense counsel Chris Snead had suggested alternatives, including being extra vigilant about keeping watch on C-Jay and the garden gate. Snead tried to underscore the fact that the dog is not a public danger, and to get the judge to see how harsh the sentence is.
"There is not the slightest suggestion this dog had a propensity to violence," Snead said. "In the present case the victim of the attack was a cat. ... All this dog did was follow its nature and attack a cat. It does not pose any threat to public safety. If the test if whether the dog poses a threat to public safety the answer must be an emphatic 'no' to that.
"We are talking about the destruction of the animal. It is as fundamental a step as can be taken. What we are dealing with is an irrevocable, fundamental, and draconian order that should only be taken when necessary."
The judge believed that because the dog may have previously escaped from the garden another time (that is questionable, says Snead), it could lead to a dangerous situation if he gets out again.
What do you think, Dogsters? It's a shame the cat is badly injured, but does C-Jay deserve to die for this? I wonder if the dog being a mixed breed with some Staffordshire may have played a role? Poor dog. And poor family. Keep your doors and gates shut, Dogsters.
Update 11/11/11 - A comment below, from Scott McInearney, who says he is the cat's owner, raises issues that none of the news stories I had read for background brought up. He says C-Jay's owner admitted in an earlier court appearance that the dog was out of control after a couple of other incidents. I recommend reading his comment to see what he says about the situation. I have no way of knowing over the internet if this really is the cat's owner but I have a feeling he is. (Scott: If you have websites or old articles that refer to what you do, could you please supply us with the URLs?)
Update: 11/12/11 - An story at TAY-AM radio says there still may be some hope for C-Jay. Lawyers for Jackson are looking into a rule called Nobile Officium, which gives the high court in Scotland the ability to overturn rulings that are "manifestly unfair." In addition, reader Lisa Spector has started a petition at The Petition Site/Care2 to save C-Jay from the death sentence. She set the goal signature number at 1,000, and as of this writing on Saturday night, the petition already has 1,800. Sign on if you'd like to see C-Jay given another chance. (I still have not found evidence of what Scott McInearney wrote regarding CJ being out of control in previous incidents. I have left the door open to him supplying URLs to earlier articles I haven't run across yet.)