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Pet Product Reviews Pet Website Reviews Eleventh Hour Mercy Plea to Save Death Row Dog Bruce
July 2, 2009 by K9 Magazine News Editor
Dog lovers around the world have reacted in horror to the recent news that the high profile case of pet dog “Bruce” may finally be over as a court orders he be destroyed in a few days time ending an exhaustive twenty one month battle to save him.
Bruce was a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier living happily with his family in Northern Ireland. On September 19th 2007 Bruce was seized by council officials as an alleged “pit bull type” and taken to secluded kennels whilst his owner was taken to court for owning a banned type of dog contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.
Whilst incarcerated in kennels his family were allowed to visit their dog in October 2007, Bruce had lost weight, muscle tone and had an open cut to his muzzle. Five months later Bruce was allowed a second visit from his family in March 2008, they were shocked with what they found: The wound on Bruce’s muzzle was larger, weeping and had become infected, he tail had been amputated due to damage and infection, he had open pressure sores, was underweight and looked totally broken and rejected, yet despite the clear pain he was in, is described by experts as being a friendly dog that poses no danger to the public.
A trial was heard at Bangor Magistrates’ Court on 27th August 2008 and the court determined that Bruce was “of type” despite the evidence from two expert identification witnesses who said he was not. Judgement was given two weeks later on the 12th September and Bruce was ordered destroyed devastating his family and supporters.
A legal appeal was lodged and a brief hearing on the 12th November 2008 listed the case for mention on 12th January 2009.
A further hearing in March 2009 was scheduled to set a date for the full Appeal. But, as we understand it, at this hearing the Judge gave Bruce a reprieve, as she believed Bruce does not pose a danger to the public. It was unclear how this potentially groundbreaking ruling would proceed as the Judge did not contest that Bruce had been found to be a pit bull type but decided as he posed no danger to the public he could be returned to his owner under the conditions that apply to pit bull types in England: Bruce’s owner was trying to obtain third party liability insurance for him as a pit bull type in Northern Ireland. As it is illegal to have a “pit bull type” in Northern Ireland no insurance company was able to offer insurance cover.
A further court date was set for 29th June 2009 to decide how this ruling for Bruce could proceed and the Judge ordered destruction.
In a desperate attempt to save Bruce, owner Shannon Brown, supporters and neighbours have created petitions, online networking groups and videos resulting in worldwide support to “Bring Bruce Home”. Bruce remains on canine death row, removed from his family home, alone and unaware of the worldwide support he has to spare his life.
Despite being debated several times, Northern Ireland has not adopted the provisions within the1997 Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act allowing friendly pet dogs found to be unlawful by appearance, but posing no danger to the public, to be allowed to live. In England, Scotland and Wales, a dog found to be “pit bull type” by the courts can be ordered entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs as an alternative to destruction. If the Amendment had been accepted in Northern Ireland, the court would have been able to exercise discretion as with the rest of the UK - Bruce is likely to have been home long before now, alive and well registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.
If Bruce lived across the border in Southern Ireland where no breeds are nationally banned he would never have been seized and imprisoned at all. Bruce has been offered a place of safety with a dedicated rescue and sanctuary in Southern Ireland where he could legally live out the rest of his life; this offer has been conveyed in writing to the solicitor but has sadly not been accepted by the court.
Bruce hasn’t actually ever put a paw wrong; he is sentenced to death due to the way he looks and the fact that NI has a mandatory death penalty unlike the rest of the UK who gave the courts discretion when sentencing twelve years ago.
Bruce and his family have endured much mental and physical anguish and pain solely due to a draconian law. His owner is simply a young dog owner who has been struggling for nearly two years to save her dogs life.
All that needs to be done to let a friendly dog live is for Bruce to be allowed safe passage from Northern to Southern Ireland and Bruce needs your support again during his eleventh hour.
We are asking supporters to contact the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Shaun Woodward MP) and Ministers urging them to use compassion and discretion by granting Bruce a Pardon removing the penalty imposed – the mandatory death sentence with the provision that Bruce is moved to the rescue placement ready and waiting for him in Southern Ireland. For a nation who claims to be animal lovers this would be the expected outcome.
As the court has ordered that Bruce be destroyed someone will be expected to administer the fatal injection. Veterinary surgeons take a sworn oath and promise to safeguard the welfare of animals committed into their care. In line with this sworn promise we are calling on all veterinary professionals within the UK to take a stand and refuse to kill Bruce - a healthy, wanted animal who poses no danger to the public & has a rescue space waiting for him in Eire. Bruce’s legal owner does not give consent for Bruce to be destroyed.
Please help by contacting the relevant authorities (template letters available) – details below to add your support to “Saving Bruce”.
For Further Information – Please Contact:
Tel: 0844 844 2900
Endangered Dogs Defence & Rescue
K9 Magazine is a lifestyle magazine for modern, forward thinking dog lovers. You can read world exclusive dog features, dog news and dog advice every month and join the thousands of dog owners who benefit from the many fantastic features inside this leading magazine! Subscribe to K9 Magazine. - See this author's webpage
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Filed Under: News
Tagged: dangerous dogs act
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16 Responses to “Eleventh Hour Mercy Plea to Save Death Row Dog Bruce”
■John Robinson on July 2nd, 2009 5:32 pm
The RSPCA, USPCA, British Government and Northern Ireland Assembly ALL continually urge the public to place appropriate value on animal welfare.
What sort of example are they setting if they kill this dog when the offer for him to live legally in Eire is on the table?
What role model is government projecting when it kills WITHOUT NEED?
■Amanda on July 2nd, 2009 5:33 pm
Urgent Plea for a Pardon/Intervention to Allow Export of Bruce to Eire:
• The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Shaun Woodward MP
Northern Ireland Office, 11 Millbank, London, SW1P 4PN
Fax: 01744 24306
• The Rt Hon Peter Robinson MP MLA – First Minister
• Martin McGuinness MP MLA – deputy First Minister
• Jeffrey Donaldson MP - http://www.jeffreydonaldson.org
• Gerry Kelly MLA
Letters to: GD36 Stormont Castle, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3TT
• Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP - Home Secretary
Letters to: 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF,
Urgent Plea to Refuse to Administer Fatal Injection:
Please urge your members not to participate in the death of Bruce.
• Veterinary Ireland – Representative body for veterinary surgeons in Ireland
• Veterinary Northern Ireland (VetNI)
Secretary General – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)
Fax: (020) 7222 2004
Urgent Plea to Help & Support Innocent Dog Bruce:
• Northdown Borough Council
C/o Town Hall, The Castle, Bangor, BT20 4BT
Tel: +44 (0) 28 9127 8067
■Michele Sebesto on July 2nd, 2009 5:44 pm
this is a disgrace. Please return this dog to it’s owners. It’s painfully obvious that this dog is suffering where he is now without proper care and love.
■Amanda on July 2nd, 2009 6:01 pm
Template Letters for Bruce:
Please go to each one seperately as the contact details will differ - Thank You!
rebecca l. oslin Reply:
July 2nd, 2009 at 7:58 pm
PLEASE do the right and humane thing and save this poor creature who has already suffered so much when he has done nothing wrong. We only ask that he be allowed to go where it is legal for him to be and not be killed senselessly. There is absolutely no reason that this can’t happen as it would cause no one harm for him to leave. We ask you for sweet Bruce.
Thank you, rlo
■hENRY on July 2nd, 2009 7:47 pm
Please let thge dog live, his owners have already endured so much, this is very sad and heart breaking, the dog did not do anything wrong and the breed is most known to be loyal affectionate comanion..Please spare this dogs life it is not fair, god bless.
■Tonya Choryan on July 2nd, 2009 7:54 pm
I am appauled at a country that shows such indifference towards animal. This dog has a place to go to live out his life free. Haven’t they tormented this animal long enough. Are the egos of the judges/Ministers in Ireland so large that it overshadows the heart. I had always wanted to visit Ireland however, they will NEVER see a dime of my vacation/travel or business money. Is therir objective to KILL or simply ban this breed of dog. They sound more like a Killing machine than people of education, compassion and leadership.
Please FREE BRUCE, it is the responsible, compassionate thing to do,let him go live in Southern Ireland. The distruction of this gentle animal will only serve to strenghen my conviction that Northern Ireland is a land of KILLERS of innocent animals! SHAME ON YOU!
■Mrs Suzanne Jones on July 2nd, 2009 8:01 pm
There is no justification in killing this dog Bruce.Are you ashamed of the fact that through your ill equipped holding system and obviously ignorant and insensitive staff Bruce has suffered both mentaly and physically.Do you not want the extent of your neglect to become common knowledge IS THIS THE REASON FOR THE DESTRUCTION ORDER. As part of the UK you should adhere to common scense and parden this dog who at least has a bolt hole.Your time effort and lawmaking would be better employed by banning the puppy farming trade and the ease that farmed puppies can enter Northen Island from Southern Ireland or the Scandinavion countries. There is every chance that the unfortunate Bruce started his life in one of these unscrupioulous establishments.
■elizabeth bryant on July 2nd, 2009 8:41 pm
I respectfully beg you to spare Bruce’s life. There is nothing more painful to a pet owner then to have his pet put down, especially when he is not sick and did nothing wrong. How would you feel if this was your childs dog? This poor creature has endured enough pain and loss already, let alone his owners. Please be the human being God made you and be merciful and give Bruce a break, You will be rewarded over and over again. I beg you, spare him.
Send him to the USA I’ll take him.
■Renee Wright on July 2nd, 2009 8:57 pm
Please give Bruce a chance at living a life free from abuse. He ought not to be put down, but given a loving home. Killing him would be appalling.
■Bonnie Snider on July 2nd, 2009 9:05 pm
I cannot fathom how any judge in the world could order this precious boy destroyed, when there is a legal home ready and waiting for him. He is not vicious. He has not attacked anyone. He was a loving family member who just happened to be born with only PART of a breed that governments around the world ignorantly outlaw and banish, because of the deeds of a few monstrous people who use them for the wrong reasons. He has done NOTHING to warrant a death sentence. I can’t imagine his pain and confusion at being torn from his family and living in some horrible place that won’t even tend to his wounds!
This goes to the very heart of the wretched BSL that is spreading like a cancer throughout animal-loving places. Just because of his LOOKS, he has been sentenced to die. Worst of all, die in a horrible place at the hands of strangers, with no one to hug him and love him and ease his terror.
PLEASE do whatever it takes to get this death sentence overturned and allow Bruce to go to a home where he will be loved. Even though it’s not with the family who cherishes him, it will still be with people who love and care for him, where he can finally live out the rest of his live in peace and kindness, instead of darkness and fear.
God bless all of your who are fighting for this precious boy. We must not give up! WE MUST BE HIS VOICE!!! Don’t let up until he is resting safely in the arms of loving people.
■Bonnie Snider on July 2nd, 2009 9:31 pm
I have just followed the links and have sent 15 emails along with using the web links to send the requests for help to all of the various places listed on the template letters for Bruce, as well as any others I could think of.
Please do this for Bruce. I just copied and pasted into one email after another and it truly didn’t take that much time at all. Considering how much time this precious boy has spent living in hell, an hour of our time is nothing compared to that.
Let’s make our voices heard!
Bless you all.
■Janice Green on July 2nd, 2009 9:32 pm
Please, Please allow Bruce to live the peaceful life he deserves. He never harmed anyone or anything, so why does he need to die for the way he looks? Please let him go to a place where he is wanted and will be loved and taken care of. Hasn’t he suffered enough because of the way he looks? Why Why Why would you want this sweet dog dead? Please let him go to Southern Ireland. Have a heart.
■Anita S. on July 2nd, 2009 9:54 pm
This is like killing a person just because of their race! The dog was seized from owners property without any justifiable reasoning. It’s just like the Nazi’s when they pulled Jews out of their homes and took them to the death camps.
Do you want to be known as the “Hitler of Animals?’ I think not, so please make this wrong a right, and send Bruce home. He’s an old dog with a broken spirit now, so what purpose would it serve to kill him now.
■SAVE BRUCE! on July 2nd, 2009 10:03 pm
What is wrong with the world? This dog poses no threat and has a place he can live legally! Let bruce live!
■Debra Work on July 2nd, 2009 10:08 pm
Please! Please! Let this sweet boy go home to the people that love him!
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Debra Work: Please! Please! Let this sweet boy go home to the people that love him!
SAVE BRUCE!: What is wrong with the world? This dog poses no threat and has a place he can live legally! Let bruce...
Anita S.: This is like killing a person just because of their race! The dog was seized from owners property without...
Janice Green: Please, Please allow Bruce to live the peaceful life he deserves. He never harmed anyone or anything,...
Bonnie Snider: I have just followed the links and have sent 15 emails along with using the web links to send the...
Bonnie Snider: I cannot fathom how any judge in the world could order this precious boy destroyed, when there is a...
Renee Wright: Please give Bruce a chance at living a life free from abuse. He ought not to be put down, but given a...
elizabeth bryant: Dear sir I respectfully beg you to spare Bruce’s life. There is nothing more painful to a pet...
Penny Harris: As a trained dog handler this officer has failed in the most serious way, he has failed to take care of...
S Brook: Firstly let me thank you for your response to my comment and would agree with many points you make. I find...
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