Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

He's not a killer, he's our pet

Anguished family launches a petition to save dog authorities believe is a pit bull

Neighbours of a family whose dog has been seized by police and council officers have rallied to demand its return.

Alan Officer said his dog Bruce was seized from his Groomsport home on Monday by police officers and a warden, who exercised a search warrant on suspicion of it being an illegal pit bull terrier.

Now friends and neighbours in Groomsport and Bangor have signed a petition to have the animal returned.

Mr Officer said his partner Shannon Brown and his three- year-old son Blake are devastated by the loss of the pet.

"Blake has been brought up with him. We've had the dog from six weeks old when we found him down Dufferin Avenue in Bangor," he said.

"He was tiny - I'm presuming he was about six weeks old. He was in a poor condition."

Mr Officer said that he was away from the house when the council dog warden arrived with a search warrant, but neighbours told him what had happened.

"The dog was curled up in a ball, shaking. They put two things round his neck and hauled him out," he said.

"My partner has been breaking her heart. My son and the rest of the family have been missing him, even though it's only been one day."

On the evening after Bruce was seized, Mr Officer's 15-year-old sister Christina collected around 30 signatures on the petition, which outlines how the family condemns dog fighting, but says that action should not be taken against docile pets like Bruce.

"I trust him with my heart and soul. Not all pit bulls are dangerous," she said.

Mr Officer said he thought Bruce was a pit bull type dog but had never turned on anyone.

David Brown, borough inspector with North Council Borough Council, who is the manager of the dog wardens, said that a warrant was executed on Monday to search the house on suspicion that the dog was a pit bull.

"We believe it to be a pit bull at this stage. It is being checked by an expert to clarify if it's a pit bull," he said.

Mr Officer said he intended to speak to a solicitor about the matter.

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