Professional dog walker fined £3,000 after Alsatians manhandled tiny Yorkshire terrier to death
A professional dog trainer has been fined £3,000 after two Alsatians he was training for government security work mauled a tiny Yorkshire terrier to death on a walk.
Stuart Forster, 36, who also trains police sniffer dogs, was leading German shepherds Demon and Nuke through a public park on Bonfire Night when they suddenly pounced on a little terrier named Riley, who was being walked by his owner.
During the incident, one of the dogs clamped its jaws around the Riley’s abdomen, piercing his chest and diaphragm, while the other ravaged his legs. The terrier died at the site of his wounds, despite his owner’s intervention.
Immediately after the attack, Forster, of Runcorn, Cheshire, attempted to avoid blame by falsely claiming that Riley was off the leash. None of the Alsatians were tied up at this point. It emerged that Forster’s animals were involved in three previous incidents involving other dogs.
Forster’s father has since sold Demon to the Prison Service for £2,000 and the dog now works at Manchester Prison, formerly Strangeways.
Immediately following the attack, Forster, of Runcorn, Cheshire, attempted to avoid blame
At the Crewe judges, Forster admitted to having dangerous dogs out of control and was sentenced to a 20-week 7pm-7am curfew.
He was also ordered to pay Riley’s owner £1,220 in compensation, plus £1,910.61 in costs and a victim’s surcharge. Both animals were spared euthanasia.
Kelly Thompson, who is prosecuting on behalf of Halton Borough Council, said: “At around 4.30pm on 5 November 2021 a Mrs Snape went for a walk with Riley, her four year old Yorkshire terrier.
“Riley was on a leash and under control. Mrs Snape got a bag to pick up Riley’s rubbish and saw two large Alsatian dogs, one black – demon – and the other auburn and brown – nuke – running towards her.
“A man identified as the defendant was heard shouting ‘demon.’ The Alsatian Hounds charged – Demon was holding Riley and had her in his mouth and Nuke grabbed Riley’s legs. Both Alsatian dogs were aggressive and bared their teeth.
“She stood between the Alsatian dogs and tried to open Demon’s jaws to free Riley. She thought Nuke was going to bite her arm because he was still trying to get Riley out of Demon’s jaws. As both Alsatian dogs lunged forward, she lost her balance and fell.
“Demon ran towards the suspect with Riley in his mouth. Demon then dropped Riley, who was lifeless.
‘Following the incident, Mrs Snape recalls the defendant’s statement that ‘Your dog should be on the bloody leash.’ Ms Snape left the crime scene to find an officer, when she returned she noticed that Riley’s body had been turned the other way and the leash had been removed. A 15-year-old witness saw the accused take the lead.
“A vet confirmed that three stab wounds to Riley’s body were consistent with a puncture wound to the diaphragm and chest causing internal bleeding and spontaneous death. Prosecutors are aware of three previous incidents involving the defendant’s dogs.’
Stuart Forster, 36, who also trains police sniffer dogs, was walking German shepherds Demon and Nuke through a public park when the incident happened
Forster appeared before Crewe Magistrates’ Court, where he admitted to having dangerous dogs out of control and was sentenced to a 20-week 7pm-7am curfew
The court heard in February 2021 that another dog was attacked by Forster’s dogs and suffered stab wounds to the back. Matters did not end in court after he agreed to pay the £95 vet bill. Later that same month, a six-month-old Doberman pinscher in Runcorn Town Park suffered two 1.5 cm wounds in one shoulder and a 2 cm wound in the other shoulder. The Doberman’s owner later filed a civil suit against Forster.
In a third incident, Demon attacked a dog named Buddy who was being dragged around in his mouth. There were wounds of around 8cm and 4cm and several other stab wounds and Buddy underwent surgery under general anaesthetic, which cost £500 which was paid for by Forster.
Miss Thompson said Demon and Nuke were trained for security sector employment and learned how to hunt and bite when necessary.
“As such, the defendant was aware of the risks posed by his dogs and yet refused to muzzle, leash and control them,” the prosecutor said. “There was no evidence of provocation by the dogs and there was a limited attempt by the defendant to regain control. The incident happened on Bonfire Night in a public park. A 15-year-old boy was in the area and a dog died.”
“Among the aggravating features in this case is the depiction that the defendant removed the leash from the body of the deceased’s dog, allegedly to minimize his guilt. Mrs Snape reports trouble sleeping after the incident and was prescribed sleeping pills by her doctor. There was an awareness of what the dogs were capable of but still the dogs were off the leash and sadly poor Riley died.’
In mitigation, Forster’s attorney Tom Worsfold said: “He trains security dogs but also trains other types of dogs, such as sniffer dogs. “They are trained to work under professional contracts or for other companies. He trained his dogs specifically for a specific purpose and for professional reasons.”
“This was an incident that happened very quickly and was beyond the control of the defendant. It was a temporary loss of control or attention that had devastating consequences.
“He’s someone who wants to express his sincere remorse. Anyone interested in this case is undoubtedly a dog lover. He has spent his working life with dogs. He was forced to think about Riley’s death and the circumstances.
“He wishes to express his regret at the loss of Miss Snape. He was able to sell Demon to the prison because he recognized the liability Demon represented. As the dog’s owner, he wanted to take the liability off himself.
“As any dog owner will recognize, it’s hard to give a dog away, especially when you consider that it’s a best friend. He trains security dogs and he also trains sniffer dogs. He was involved in providing dogs to the police and prison service. This is a professional operation run properly. This incident does not reflect the daily work of his company.
‘This is a man who knows dogs. He made a mistake and is aware that this is a warning shot for him. It’s an experience he learned from and continues to learn.”
A parole report added: “Mr. Forster’s account is different from Riley’s owner’s account. But he doesn’t want to take what happened from Ms Snape. He was affected too, but if he were affected, he can’t imagine how it would be for her.
“Demon was one of his best friends that he gave away, so he can’t imagine what happened when he lost Riley.”
The judges issued Demon no instructions other than the Prison Service to notify Halton Borough Council of the dog’s retirement if there were public safety concerns. However, Nuke was given a conditional extermination order, which included the clause that the dog should not be walked by anyone under the age of 18 or by anyone who was not appropriately trained.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11731505/Professional-dog-walker-pay-3-000-Alsatians-mauled-tiny-Yorkshire-terrier-death.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Professional dog walker fined £3,000 after Alsatians manhandled tiny Yorkshire terrier to death