Thousands sign petition to save dog abandoned in Leeds park

A picture of the dog found in Horsforth Hall Park
A picture of the dog found in Horsforth Hall Park
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Nearly 6,000 people have signed a petition to save a seemingly abandoned dog found in a Leeds park from being put to sleep.

The male pit bull-type dog was found in Horsforth Hall Park on October 5. He had been tied to park railings but had chewed through the lead.

“We don’t agree with the methods used to determine whether a dog is dangerous.”

Roz Hedley, petition organiser

After being taken by Leeds city council, he was then put into the hands of West Yorkshire Police for assessment and judged to be one of the four banned UK breeds.

The dog was chipped and his owner has been traced, but is understood not to have responded to the letter sent by a Leeds dog warden asking them to claim the animal.

Because he is a banned breed only his owner can claim him, and campaigners now fear he will be put to sleep.

An online petition calling for a change in the law so that such dog are not automatically put to sleep if there is another fit and able person willing to take them on had been signed by nearly 5,950 people by this morning.

According to petition organiser Roz Hedley, the dog had been tied to railings in the park in Horsforth and chewed his way through the lead.

She said: “He was shaking and nervous but taken to a local house where he was loving and was also dog friendly. He showed signs of potential abuse which could be consistent with cigarette burns on his back and back legs.

“He was taken by the local council and assessed as potential type, then seized by police for assessment due to the fact he was chipped, which gave him another seven days of potential life.

“Unfortunately for him, he was then assessed as a type dog which means under the law he has to be returned to the owner on his chip who may no longer want him. Due to him now being a banned breed only his owner can claim him.

“His facebook page is called ‘Horsforth Park Dog’ and has many devoted followers. We want to ask that you sign this petition to change the law so that dogs like him are NOT automatically put to sleep if there is a fit and able person or Specialist rescue available to take on responsibility.

“It is the current Breed Specific Legislation law (BSL) that puts dog like this, who have done nothing wrong, at risk! Let’s change this law, it is unjust and unfair!! Let’s start educating humans rather than penalising their dogs!!”

Ms Hedley, from a lost dog help website ‘Murphy’s Army’, says the criteria used to decide whether or not a dog should be put down are ‘all wrong’.

She said: “If the owner of the dog makes the choice not to take him through the court process of making him legal if he is classed as a banned breed then he will be put to sleep.

“We have made a large appeal for the owner and know that he did not respond to the letter which was sent to him by the dog warden when the dog was found abandoned.

“He has been spoken to by the police however we do not now whether he will claim him. This can be due to many issues including having a criminal record.

“It could also be due to the fact the has has other dogs likely to be seized or does not have the funds to get his dog through the courts. We have put the appeal out that we will raise funds for this to happen and have solicitors who can help him.”

She added: “We don’t agree with the methods used to determine whether a dog is dangerous. This dog isn’t dangerous to people but if he is measured and he is within a certain range, he will be classed as a ‘dangerous type’.”