But it's too late for stray Patch, put down because she looked like a pit bull
A stray dog found in Enniskillen has been put to sleep because she looked like a pit bull terrier.
Patch was found roaming freely at Carran Mews in the Drumbawn area of Enniskillen in January. She was seized by officers from Fermanagh and Omagh Council, who could not trace her owner, and after examining Patch, determined that she was a pit bull type dog, and applied to Fermanagh Magistrates Court for him to be destroyed.
That application was granted on Monday according to the Courts Service. A spokeswoman for the council confirmed that the destruction order granted by the court has been implemented.
The Impartial Reporter newspaper reported that during the court hearing on Monday, Deputy District Judge Neil Rafferty granted the destruction order, but described it as a "sad and tragic" case.
The court heard that as Patch was seized in January, a man approached the council official and claimed that the dog was not a pit bull, but refused to give anymore details. "Photographs were taken and an examination confirmed that it was a pit bull terrier type dog," the court heard according to the Impartial Reporter. A council representative told the court that they were seeking a destruction order because the dog was in heat and they were concerned it would breed. Mr Rafferty said the owner of the animal could no longer be located and, as a dangerous dog, it could not be rehomed.
Describing it as a "sad and tragic" case, the Impartial Reporter reported Mr Rafferty added the animal was a "perfectly good dog" who appeared to be well looked after. However as dangerous dogs could not be rehomed, he was left with no other option but to order its destruction. After the hearing a spokesperson for Fermanagh and Omagh Council said: "The application was for a Destruction Order under article 25c (3) of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983, as amended by the Dogs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 in respect of a dog to which Article 25c (1) applied. No person has been, or is to be prosecuted, for an offence in respect of the dog as the owner has not come forward nor could they be found."
Responding to questions from the Belfast Telegraph, a spokeswoman for the council further explained that an individual who "stated he was the owner refused to give his name or any details whatsoever to the dog warden". "He has since vacated the site from where the dog was seized leaving no contact details," she said. "No enquires were received in relation to the dog."
She also clarified that the council referred to the dog as Patch because children near where the dog was found roaming had been freely referring to her as Patch. In Belfast, the city council is planning to bring dog expert Peter Tallack from England to identify whether a dog known as Hank is a pit bull type. However, the spokeswoman for Fermanagh and Omagh Council said their dog wardens are qualified to identify whether a dog is a pit bull type.
"The dog wardens have successfully completed an accredited course in identifying dangerous dogs, and use a recognised set of criteria from the American Dog Breeders Association to identify dog breeds," she said.