Magistrates rule that Stevenage family’s pet, which killed another dog, is not a dangerous animal
- Credit: Archant
A man who faced the possibility of having his pet dog destroyed has spoken of the seven-month ordeal his family went through before he was acquitted.
Luke Christensen’s Staffordshire bull terrier escaped from his house in Ashleigh, Stevenage, on September 8 and killed Michael and Sharon Hearn’s teacup Yorkshire terrier called Holly.
The 27-year-old was found not guilty at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court last month of having his dog, called Apollo, dangerously out of control because he had no knowledge he had escaped.
After hearing the result, he said: “I have finally cleared my family’s name after it was wrongly dragged through the mud and I have finally had justice for Apollo and proved he is not a dangerous dog.”
Apollo escaped from the house when Mr Christensen’s neighbour, Nicole Kimber, accidentally didn’t shut the door properly when she entered the house.
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The family had just returned from celebrating their youngest daughter’s third birthday at Stevenage Leisure Park and, after putting their children to bed, the couple discovered fruit flies behind the kitchen freezer.
When Ms Kimber entered the house Mr Christensen and his wife Elisha were busy clearing the flies and only discovered that Apollo had escaped when they heard Mr Hearn shouting and swearing outside.
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The dog’s escape and Mr Hearn’s reaction led to Holly being killed, the magistrates ruled.
“I’m so glad the whole thing’s finally over,” Mr Christensen added.
“It has caused my whole family a lot of stress. We felt that a lot of people thought that Apollo was a dangerous dog which simply isn’t true. It was an accident that he escaped and a tragedy what happened to Mr Hearn’s dog but it wasn’t anyone’s fault.”
Mr Hearn was arrested on the day for making threats and acquitted of a Section 5 Public Order offence in March.