x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Facebook users rally for death-row dog

Animal lovers set up site to save pit bull terrier which attacked and killed a toy poodle at a pet show.

Trip, a four-year-old male American Staffordshire terrier, was seized by Dubai Municipality.
Trip, a four-year-old male American Staffordshire terrier, was seized by Dubai Municipality.

DUBAI // A Facebook campaign has been set up to try to save a pit bull terrier, which attacked and killed a toy poodle at a pet show last weekend, from being put down.

Trip, a four-year-old male American Staffordshire terrier, was seized by Dubai Municipality after savaging Pluto, a six-year-old toy poodle, at the Dubai Pet Show on Friday.

The dog will be held under observation for at least another two weeks to determine if it is aggressive. The owner could be fined and the dog could be destroyed.

A campaign has been set up on the social-networking site to petition authorities, asking them not to put the animal to sleep. By last night, 293 people had "liked" the "Save Trip" page.

The owner, a 28-year-old Indian national who declined to be identified, said the site had been set up by friends and animal lovers.

"They've decided to put this page up and are trying to make the authorities aware that people are interested in what's going on," he said.

"People who've come in contact with him can tell he is a gentle dog. They don't feel that Trip should be suffering in such a way as this."

He said the poodle's death had been an accident.

"The poodle came around behind him and was sniffing him," the owner said. "He gave a little nip to Trip and his initial reaction was self-defence.

"It was a freak accident. He didn't mean to bite and kill the dog."

The owner said that Trip was accustomed to small dogs, as he also kept two Yorkshire terriers in his Dubai villa.

The show organisers said on Sunday that dog owners had been told to muzzle their dogs on entry. But they added it was not their responsibility if owners then removed the muzzle.

Trip's owner said the statement was "absolutely not true".

He said he had entered with two people, one of whom had a Rottweiler and the other a German shepherd, but neither had been told to muzzle their animals.

"We were all asked only one thing: 'what's the health of the dog?'" he said.

"They didn't ask us to muzzle the dog. They didn't ask us for our registration papers or anything."

Pluto's owner, Nazanin, said yesterday that she wanted the law to take its course and was not seeking "punishment nor revenge".

A spokesman for the show said yesterday that organisers had met Dubai Municipality representatives and agreed on a plan to improve security at future events.

Municipality veterinarians and inspectors will attend the event to help to control entry and registration, and to enforce regulations throughout the show.

They will have the power to issue on-the-spot fines if necessary.

Trip's owner said that he was deeply sorry for the loss of Pluto, and he did not want to cause any further grief.

"I don't want to start a debate, I just want to make sure Trip's treated well and that at the end of it we'll have him back," he said.

mcroucher@thenational.ae