Woman’s tears after police bid to destroy dog is rejected by court

Claire Leonard, who saw Lancashire Police's bid to destroy her dog defeated in court (Pic: Facebook/Claire Leonard)
Claire Leonard, who saw Lancashire Police's bid to destroy her dog defeated in court (Pic: Facebook/Claire Leonard)

A woman wept as she left court knowing that the life of her dog has been saved.

An application by Lancashire Police that Poppy – a banned pit bull terrier – be put down was rejected by magistrates at Blackpool.

Izzy and Poppy were seized by police investigating a missing teenager (Pic: Facebook/Claire Leonard)

Izzy and Poppy were seized by police investigating a missing teenager (Pic: Facebook/Claire Leonard)

But the dog will remain on ‘death row’ until owner Claire Leonard, of Newhouse Road in Marton, complies with a series of court instructions.

Nobody was in when The Gazette visited Miss Leonard’s house, but she wrote on Facebook following the hearing: “Poppy’s coming home!

“She’ll have a contingent destruction order with restrictions. If those restrictions are every breached she’ll be destroyed.

“We should have her home within seven days once the paperwork has gone through.

“Thank you to all who’ve commented and supported me throughout this hellish nightmare.”

Poppy and a similar dog, Izzy, were seized by police when they visited the 44-year-old’s home on a different matter concerning a missing teenager, the court heard.

Izzy was allowed home, but Poppy was identified by a specialist officer as being of a banned breed.

That could have seen her destroyed, but after magistrates heard how the animal had never caused any problems, and was properly trained and looked after, they turned down Lancashire Constabulary’s request.

Miss Leonard, who already had Poppy microchipped, must now make sure the dog is always muzzled and kept on a lead in public.

It must be in the care of somebody over the age of 16, must be registered, and also insured.

The court was also told Miss Leonard had installed a new fence panel in her garden to make it secure.

Defending, Kathryn Jameson-Sinclair said: “Poppy has not been a risk to public safety.

“She has been with her owner since she was a tiny puppy and has been properly trained and looked after by her owner and her vet.

“It is a well socialised playful dog and nothing adverse is known about her.”

Writing on Facebook, Miss Leonard said her ordeal had ‘tested her to the limits’.

She added: “But I’ve kept my head and battled through for Poppy. I’m going to do everything I can to bring awareness and get this stupid barbaric law amended.”

Miss Leonard also praised Deed Not Breeds, a non-profit organisation in Preston which said on its own Facebook page: “Massive congratulations to Claire, whose two dogs Izzy and Poppy were seized as suspected put bull types.”