Public outrage as four-month-old puppy is detained under dangerous dog act for biting Northamptonshire Police officer

Thousands of people are campaigning to free a four-month-old puppy locked up by Northamptonshire Police after it escaped its home and bit an officer.

Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 11:01 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 1:42 pm
Bungle's story is front page news and a campaign to free him has gathered thousands of supporters

Bungle, a Chow Chow, was detained under the Dangerous Dogs Act and could be separated from his owners David and Susan Hayes and their son Joseph for nine months.

Police said the officer was not seriously hurt but was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.

More than 3,500 people have backed a “Free Bungle” campaign on Facebook while Northamptonshire Police have been flooded with demands to let him go.

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In a statement owner David said: "We are massively regretful that Bungle was able to sneak out of our gates, and especially that a police officer was injured while on duty and trying to resolve the situation.

"We feel hugely comforted though that it is not just us that feels the outcome today of this accident is grossly draconian and disproportionate.

"We are, as ever, respectful of the police doing their job and understand that, given very sad and unacceptable outcomes of some prior dog attack cases, the treatment of any incident needs to be taken seriously.

Bungle's story is front page news and a campaign to free him has gathered thousands of supporters

"However, the inflexibility of this ‘zero tolerance’ stance seems poorly thought through. A scorecard assessment of each situation would perhaps avoid painful and unnecessary torment and save resource and money.

"Keeping a young puppy, that has not done anything unexpected or unacceptable in the circumstances, from a 15-year-old boy over Christmas seems callous."

The Northamptonshire Police officer was bitten on Friday, November 17 in Stoke Bruerne, near Towcester.

Traffic on the A508 was being held up as the dog was loose in the road and "potentially endangering road users", police said.

While trying to catch Bungle, who was cowering under a lorry, the officer was bitten on the hand and arm.

The officer was not seriously hurt but went to hospital for checks, antibiotics and a tetanus vaccination.

"Public safety is the priority concern in such situations and as the owner was not present and there was continued risk, both to the safety of the dog and members of the public who were present at the time, the dog was seized under S5 (1) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 - giving police powers where a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place and having caused injury to a person," said a Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman.

"An officer from the East Midlands Operational Support Service attended and seized the dog which is currently being looked after in secure kennels.

"It will remain under the care of the Force’s Dog Legislation Officer while the full circumstances of the incident are investigated.

"The Dog Legislation Officer is liaising with the dog’s owner while the investigation takes place and any aggravated offences under S3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are explored. "