Police 'mistakes' blamed after 'dangerous dogs' held in South Yorkshire for seven months are released as case collapses

Staffordshire terriers Rio and Reggy, who were held in police kennels for seven months
Staffordshire terriers Rio and Reggy, who were held in police kennels for seven months
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Two dogs which were held by police in South Yorkshire for seven months have been released after the case collapsed at court.

Staffordshire terriers Rio and Reggy were seized by police under the Dangerous Dogs Act after a walker was injured in Barnsley.

They had escaped from their owner's garden on March 26, before one of them was alleged to have injured a dog-walker on Shepherd Lane, in Thurnscoe, that morning.

The owner appeared at Barnsley Magistrates' Court today charged with having a dog dangerously out of control in a place where a person was injured.

But while it was accepted the dogs were involved in the incident, Parry Welch Lacey LLP Solicitors said the injured walker could not say which of the dogs had caused the injury.

The law firm said that because police could not prove to the required standard which dog had caused the injury, the charges were dismissed.

Rio had been living his life as an exempted 'pit bull type dog', meaning his owner must comply with certain conditions, but a vet provided evidence at court which was accepted by police that neither animal merited controlled dog status.

James Parry, who represented the dogs' owner, said the case illustrated what a 'poor tool' the Dangerous Dogs Act is for controlling dogs.

"This case also shows police officers make mistakes when certifying type. In this case the officer who considered the dogs to be type, one of whom only has three legs, accepted the evidence of Dr Kendal Shepherd, which enabled those charges to be withdrawn," he added.

"It's unfortunate that the dogs in question have been in police kennels at public expense since March. The usual charge is about £10 per dog per day and sometimes there are attendant animal welfare issues.

"It is thought that the annual costs of keeping animals in police kennels exceeds £600,000 across England and Wales, of which very little is recovered. Put another way, the amount spent could fund the salaries of at least 20 police officers."

The Star has contacted South Yorkshire Police.