Banned dog was seized by police officers

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A family’s pet dog was seized by police officers while the woman who claims she owns it was in hospital suffering a serious medical condition.

Investigations revealed Mia, a two-year-old terrier, had ‘pitbull characteristics’ although the Hodgeon family claim they bought her on the understanding she was a Staffordshire bull terrier.

Officers visited the house in Maldon Place, Ribbleton, after concerns were raised about owner Sharon Hodgeon’s health on February 18 this year.

The 44-year-old was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital where she was put in an induced coma for tests and remained as an in-patient for two weeks. However the following day, officers from Lancashire Police executed a warrant under the Dangerous Dogs Act and seized Mia while two of Miss Hodgeon’s sons, David, 20, and Nathan, 22, were at the house.

Preston Magistrates Court heard David is banned from being in possession or custody of any dog under an order made at Preston Crown Court.

When officers enquired about who owned the animal, the men looked at each other and hesitated, before Nathan replied “put me down.”

At this time, the men claim they had no idea the dog had the characteristics of a pitbull.

Preston magistrates heard David had bought Mia for £250 and had looked after her for a few months before selling her to his older brother Scott, who gave the dog to his mum as a present.

Miss Hodgeon pleaded guilty to possessing a banned breed and David admitted selling a banned breed.

However the prosecution allege David was in fact the owner of the dog, despite his ban.

He denies the charge, and Sharon and Nathan deny aiding and abetting his ownership.

Miss Hodgeon told the court: “She is a loving pet. She has never hurt anybody. She is brilliant, like another baby and she helps me with my depression.”