Dog owner cleared over pet death
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