THE FEAR that the life of a pet Bassett Hound from Llansteffan would be ended has now come to a close after owner Catrin Jenkins appeared in Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (Feb 11) to defend her pet.
Murphy the 13 year-old Bassett hound is well known in the area of Llansteffan, and a petition was set up online, as well as posts all across Facebook appearing, in support of the dog in the weeks leading up to the court date.
One post read: “For God’s sake, he is about as ferocious as a kipper, some people have nothing better to do. I am sure you can rely on the support of this village, sending love to all of you, including Murphy.”
Catrin Jenkins, who appeared in court with her husband, entered an early guilty plea to the charge of being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control.
On 7th September 2015 the complainants, Lauren Brown and her boyfriend Mr Godfrey, went to Llansteffan beach where they parked their car there at midday. One exited the car with their three Staffordshire bull terriers and Catrin Jenkins’ Bassett hounds approached the car, who had seen the three dogs and became excited, before Brown and her boyfriend told them to go away.
Prosecuting in court, Mr Martin, told the court: “One of the dogs went back to Catrin who was far in the distance, and when Lauren tried to usher the dog away with her leg, the Bassett hound ran towards them. Lauren placed her dog in-between her legs and raised her arm in defence before the hound clamped onto her arm.”
Police were then contacted, and after seeing the bruise on Lauren’s arm headed towards the property of Catrin Jenkins, where they saw the Bassett hound in the garden.
Defending the pet owners, solicitor David Folland explained: “On the beach there was an independent witness to the incident, Steven James, who had been walking his dog and there was no suggestion that the Bassett hound had gone for his dog.
The main issue is that the complainants’ Staffordshire bull terriers became excited and aggressive when the hounds moved towards the couple initially. There was no aggression towards the humans present in any way, and an incident like this has not happened involving the dog before.”
With a smirk on his face, the prosecutor in court stood up then made one final insensitive attempt to swerve the court. He rose to announce that the defence solicitor mentioning Murphy, the name of the 13 year-old pet dog whose life was literally hanging in the balance of being put down or kept alive, was irrelevant and had no purpose to be mentioned.
Catrin and her husband have said that there has been a significant lifestyle change with their dogs. They spend more time at home, now remaining extremely careful with their dogs, explaining that the whole ordeal has been ‘extremely upsetting’ for them.
The Magistrates in court retired to make their decision, before re-appearing in court to announce that due to the past history of Murphy, they were not going to make a destruction order on the condition that if another incident is to happen within 12 months, the owners would re-appear in court.
Catrin and her husband shed tears of relief and joy in court as the Magistrates warned them that they now must keep Murphy either muzzled or on a lead whilst taking him out.
They told the Herald: “We’re over joyed that Catrin was discharged and Murphy not destroyed. We have to thank the huge support from our village, Murphy’s friends, legal team and Facebook followers. Cheers. Murphy got a pigs ear when we got home as a present.”
The two were also ordered to pay £100 compensation to the complainants, £85 prosecution costs, and a £15 surcharge.