Dog owner cleared over pet death

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON karen.brit­ton@men­ @KarenBrit­ton1

MAGI STRATE S have ruled that the death of a Ti­betan Spaniel at­tacked by four Ken­nel Club trained golden re­triev­ers was a ‘tragic accident’.

Sara Rod­way, 51, who lives at a con­verted silk mill at Doe Meadow House, Lan­g­ley, was ac­cused of be­ing in charge of dan­ger­ously out of con­trol dogs at Mac­cles­field Mag­is­trates Court.

But she was found not guilty of four counts of the charge af­ter a trial.

Speak­ing af­ter the hear­ing, Sara Rod­way, 51, said the in­ci­dent was a les­son for all dog own­ers.

The court was told that the dogs at­tacked a Ti­betan Spaniel af­ter es­cap­ing from a kitchen.

Mag­is­trates heard on the morn­ing of Au­gust 1 last year Joanne Sharp, who is em­ployed to care for Mrs Rod­way’s an­i­mals, left the kitchen door open and the four re­triev­ers rushed out.

The dogs charged through three more open doors and at­tacked the spaniel be­long­ing to a guest stay­ing at one of the hol­i­day cot­tages Mrs Rod­way runs next to her home.

The spaniel’s owner de­scribed the an­i­mals ‘rip­ping him apart’ and how she screamed hys­ter­i­cally as she tried to save her pet.

The spaniel suf­fered a bro­ken leg and later died.

The court heard that the dogs, which were all trained to at least bronze stan­dard by the Ken­nel Club’s Good Cit­i­zen dog train­ing scheme, were trusted im­plic­itly by Mrs Rod­way, who runs hol­i­day cot­tages de­signed for fam­i­lies with sick chil­dren and kept an­i­mals in­clud­ing horses, sheep and pigs.

One of the dogs, Echo, even fea­tured in the Ex­press when it adopted a litter of six kit­tens which had been aban­doned.

Chair­man of the bench Christopher An­der­ton said Mrs Rod­way, who was clean­ing a cot­tage in a dif­fer­ent part of the site at the time, was not in suf­fi­cient prox­im­ity to have con­trol over her dogs.

He added: “You trans­ferred con­trol to Joanne and her job de­scrip­tion is clear.

“This has been hang­ing over you for some time.

“It was a tragic accident and we hope you can put it be­hind you.”

Ju­lian Goode, de­fend­ing, said there was no crit­i­cism of Mrs Sharp, add- ing: “From Mon­day to Fri­day she is in charge and un­for­tu­nately four doors were left open and a ter­ri­ble thing hap­pened.

“For the dogs to get out was ex­tremely rare.”

Speak­ing af­ter the trial, Mrs Rod­way, said: “It’s been aw­ful over the past 15 months as this has gone through the court.

“I have no idea why they did what they did on that day.

“The lit­tle dog had been run­ning around the site and my dogs had met it be­fore but there had never been any prob­lem so I was so shocked at what hap­pened.

“They are lovely dogs and it was com­pletely out of char­ac­ter.

“We would not al­low chil­dren to come if we thought the dogs were ag­gres­sive.

“It’s a les­son to all dog own­ers that you have to be so care­ful.”

●● Sara Rod­way was found not guilty of be­ing in charge of dan­ger­ously out of con­trol dogs

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