Moira Hunter v HMA 2019

Ms Hunter pled guilty at the Sheriff court in Kilmarnock in 2017 of being in charge of a dog that was “dangerously out of control.” The appellant’s dog, a Bullmastiff was said to have attacked a Labrador puppy belonging the Victim, who was also attacked by the dog. The appellant was sentenced in 2018 to a disqualification of keeping or owning a dog for 5 years, a compensation order of £166.38 and the appellant was also fined £300.00.

p> The dog in question was also ordered to be destroyed. The appellant was originally branded as irresponsible by the Sheriff. The appellant has recently appealed to the High Court who has rejected an appeal to save the dog. The appellant was previously refused leave to appeal by the Sheriff Appeal Court but an animal charity made an application to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, who lodged a fresh appeal. The appellant asked for a contingent destruction order instead of a destruction order which would give the dog a chance if certain conditions were met.

The appellant stated the Sheriff did not give enough weight to the dogs temperament. The dog was a family pet named Eva. However, the appeal court ruled that the first instance Sheriff and the Sheriff Appeal Court has not erred under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The appeal was therefore refused. Despite the fact the dog now has a new owner the appeal court concluded: “the dog’s background outweighs the significance of the new owner, and on that basis I would agree that the destruction order imposed by the sheriff should stand.”