MERSEYSIDE ENGLAND - ANIMAL RESCUES ARE TRYING TO SAVE THE 9-YEAR-OLD PIT BULL (OOPS! I MEAN STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER) THAT POSSIBLY KILLED ITS OWNER AND ATE ON HIM - EVEN THOUGH THE VICTIM'S FAMILY AND POLICE WANT THE PIT PUT DOWN
Debate: Charities are arguing against a Staffordshire bull terrier, similar to that pictured, being put down (file picture)
A decision to put down a Staffordshire bull terrier that started to eat its owner's dead body has sparked outrage among animal charities.
A legal fight is underway between Merseyside Police and dog organisations over whether the nine-year-old pet should remain alive.
The dispute began when the owner was found dead at his home in September with injuries to his body, together with the starving animal.
The dog is named as both Buster and Butch in court papers.
An inquest into the man’s death in Liverpool was unable to determine if it was connected to any attack from the Staffy, which was seized by police.
Now the owner's family want the bull terrier destroyed, believing it to pose a danger to the public, a view supported by Merseyside Police.
A court hearing will take place early next month to get permission to put the dog down.
But that move is opposed by local animal charities, Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre and The Senior Staff Club.
A Liverpool law firm, representing those groups, is set to argue that for a starving dog, left without food or water for a prolonged period, eating a deceased person was not uncommon.
James Parry, a leading solicitor from Parry Welch Lacey LLP described the case as ‘sensitive.’
And he told the Liverpool Echo: “There are a number of documented cases of dogs, effectively starving, who’ve gone on to eat a deceased person.
“The issue is whether or not the dog is dangerous. But this set of circumstances is not uncommon.”
Buster's most recent owner took in the dog after it attacked and killed a Chihuahua in a vicious attack, it is understood.Merseyside Police will argue the animal also displayed violent behavior when its dog handling team was examining it, and later when mixing with other dogs at the force kennels.
Cops will insist the bull terrier poses a risk to the public.
A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “Since being lawfully seized from the owner’s house in Waterloo following his sudden death in September, the dog has displayed highly aggressive behaviour.
“This has included: aggression towards officers attending the address, aggression towards other dogs in police-approved kennels and attempting to bite the dog officer who conducted the assessment.
“During police enquiries into the owner’s death officers were told by members of his family that the dog had previously attacked and killed another dog owned by someone known to the family.
“In light of the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death, the aggressive behaviour of the dog since being found with the victim’s body, the family’s own strong views and the force’s duty of care to protect the wider public, we will be taking the matter to court to have the full facts heard by a district judge.”