Lancaster family’s dog saved from death row

Darla the dog with Maddison.
Darla the dog with Maddison.
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A family dog which was seized by police for being a banned breed has been saved from death row.

Darla the Shar-Pei Staff cross has been in police kennels since July 16 and her owner Jenny Armer from Lancaster had launched a campaign to raise money to fight for Darla’s life in court, as well as a petition to help save Darla.

Darla the dog has been seized by police.

Darla the dog has been seized by police.

Now police have announced Darla will be returned home today. Thursday.

Jenny Armer, of Norfolk Street, Lancaster, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that our beloved Darla will be returned to us on Thursday.

“Our advisors deed not breed, our instructed independent expert Mel Rushmore and our solicitor Kathryn Jamieson Sinclair have been working with the authorities since her seizure and following our own assessment being carried out and an opinion being given by our expert that Darla whilst having characteristics of a type dog had more characteristics of a breed, the police and our team have been in discussions as to the way forward.

“This has resulted in the police bringing in another independent expert who assessed Darla and has agreed that Darla has more substantial characteristics of a breed than she does type and our girl is coming home to us.

“I am so happy we are all in tears, I’m so happy I could just scream.

“Words will never be able to describe how grateful I am for the support from you all it has been absolutely amazing! Thank you so so much - love to every single person who has helped us through this past 18 days of hell.”

Police have confirmed that Darla is not a banned breed.

They executed a warrant in Norfolk Street last month.

Officers attended following reports a dog inside the property was a banned breed.

As is force policy when dealing with a suspected banned breed, the dog was removed in order for it to be assessed.

Following an independent assessment it was established the dog is not banned.

The dog, who has been cared for by expert officers and kennel staff while under assessment, will be returned to its owners later this week.

Sgt Sue Bushell, of Lancashire Police’s Dogs Unit, said: “On July 16, police executed a warrant at an address in Lancaster following concerns a dog inside the property was a banned breed.

“In any incident where officers deal with a potential prohibited dog, safeguarding individuals and protection of the public is our priority.

“It is normal practice for officers to seize dogs in order for a full assessment to be carried out by a qualified Dog Legislation Officer (DLO). During this process, dogs are kennelled in secure facilities where their welfare is paramount. In this case an independent DLO found the dog does not have substantial characteristics of a Pit Bull-type and therefore Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act does not apply. As is always the case in these situations, no cost has been incurred by the dog’s owner and arrangements have been made for its safe return.

“There are many occasions where dogs seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act are returned to their owners either because they are determined not to be banned breeds or they are exempted following the full circumstances of the case being considered by a Magistrates Court.

“When dealing with offences under this Act our main concern is to protect people from injury, or fear of injury by dogs. We would encourage members of the public to report any concerns they have involving dangerous dogs to help us keep our communities safe.”

A family fun day will be held for at St Chad’s Church Hall in Lancaster on August 8, between 12pm and 6pm, to raise funds for Deed for Breed who helped Jenny and her family get an independent assessment of Darla to establish she is not a pit bull type.

Everyone welcome.