Dangerous dog case didn’t have a leg to stand on

CLEARED ... Kerrie Cue with her three-legged dog Kai.
CLEARED ... Kerrie Cue with her three-legged dog Kai.

A MUM was cleared of having a dangerous dog after a court found the case against her didn’t have a leg to stand on.

Magistrates threw out charges against Kerrie Cue, over her three-legged pet, Kai, in a case which her solicitor described as “a pig’s ear”.

The 35-year-old was arrested when police went to Jarrow’s Minster Parade – which backs on to Miss Cue’s house in High Street – searching for a man.

As Miss Cue went to see what was going on, her three-legged Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Kai, followed and ran towards one of the police dogs – Bullet, a Dutch herder.

The dog’s handler, Pc Charlie Peace, claimed the pet was acting dangerously and shouted at Miss Cue to get him away.

The mum-of-two swore at the officer, angry at his attitude towards her dog, before taking Kai inside.

Moments later, she was arrested for her bad language – a public order offence – and was later charged with having a dog dangerously out of control in public.

But Miss Cue denied her dog, known as Kai-pod by neighbours, was out of control, and said her language was justified due to the way Pc Peace had acted.

Yesterday – a year after the incident – both cases were dismissed at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court after a trial.

PC Peace, a police dog handler for the past seven years, told magistrates he didn’t realise Kai had three legs as he was focusing on the dog’s behaviour.

He said: “The dog was growling aggressively and his body was stiff. I shouted that someone should put it on a leash. If it had come any closer, it could’ve attacked myself and my police dog.”

But the court heard from Miss Cue that Kai was a friendly dog and she had never known him to growl at anyone.

Magistrates were shown pictures of Kai playing with neighbours and heard from eyewitnesses who said they didn’t see him acting aggressively.

Geofrrey Forrester, defending Miss Cue, claimed it was the police dog that was out of control and said Pc Peace threatened to “cave the head in” of Kai with his baton.

The court heard Bullet had bitten people 11 times in the past four years – all classed as justified attacks by the police.

Mr Forrester told the bench: “I hope it would only take you a seconds to make your mind up whether Kai-pod is dangerous.

“People are happy for their grandchildren to play with him and you have heard evidence that he is anything but dangerous.

“Pc Peace has talked of Kai being a dog from hell, but he failed to notice it was missing a leg. If you think a dog is going to attack you, how on earth can you not notice it only has three legs?

“This is a pig’s ear of a case, which should not have been brought against Miss Cue.”

Dismissing both charges, chairman of the bench Leslie Watson said: “We’re not satsified the case against Miss Cue is proved.”

Speaking after the case, Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police’s operations command department, defended the decision to press charges.

She said: “The case was properly prepared, assessed by the Crown Prosecution Service and presented to the magistrates.

“Clearly the magistrates made a decision that the very high standard of proof required for a conviction wasn’t met.

“We will be looking at the full circumstances of this case, and examining all the facts.”