Here's the article:
FAMILY DOG FACING DEATH AFTER ATTACK
Customers have launched a petition to save a shop guard dog who magistrates have ordered be put down after he attacked while protecting the shop. Tiger's owner is to appeal the court decision claiming it to be "one-sided".
Mahendran Miranjan was closing Drakes General Stores on Sydenham Road, Selhurst, on June 26, 2002, when a teenager pulled up the half-closed shutter and entered the shop.
Seventeen-year-old Lucy Couchman was chased out on the street by the family's Alsatian Tiger and repeatedly bitten.
She suffered bites to her arms and legs and has been psychologically affected by the attack.
On Monday, September 15 Croydon magistrates found Miranjan guilty of failing to control a dog in a public place and ordered him to pay £2,050 compensation to the victim and that the dog be destroyed within three weeks pending appeal.
Mr Miranjan is to appeal because Tiger regularly plays with his one-year-old son Viinojan and has never previously attacked anyone.
He said: "The decision of the court was completely one-sided. It is very sad. I said I would pay any compensation but I didn't want to have the dog put down.
"Tiger is a gentle dog but was startled by the lady."
Selhurst ward beat officer PC Steve Marks said: "I feel sorry for Miss Couchman because of her injuries and for Mr Miranjan who was also distressed by the incident.
"I was surprised at the severity of the sentence, but the court felt the destruction order was the only option open to them."
As you can see, this is an absolutely gorgeous dog who looks every bit as soppy as his owner says he is. And I don't think the case is fair. The shopkeeper has been found guilty of 'failing to control a dog in a public place' and as far as I can see an obviously closed shop is not a public place, it's private property.
If you want to add your name to the petition, please post a comment to this entry and leave your *real* name and (if you're willing to) your address or email so the magistrates can check you're a real person. If I get a good enough response I'll be contacting the shopkeepers tomorrow.
Please, please link to this in your journal and in any halfway relevant communities/mailing lists. I'm crying my eyes out here and I don't even know the dog, so just imagine how his family must feel.
I visited the shop today and spoke to the family. The good news is that I got the timescale wrong - the appeal is set to go to court in two or three weeks, so we have that long to do something about it. Mrs. Miranjan and baby Viinojan were in the shop, Tiger, alas, was at home with Mr. Miranjan, so I didn't get to pat him :/
I gave Mrs. Miranjan a printout of our petition, as they don't have a computer, and she is *really* grateful for all your support. She pressed free drinks into my hands on my way out. :)
I did speak to Mr. Miranjan on the phone, and he obviously really loves Tiger - he told me he had three dogs and 'looked after them all like babies'. He said that even a police officer who visited the shop thought Tiger wasn't dangerous and didn't deserve to be put down. He said he'd tried to get the Sun (a British tabloid newspaper) interested, with no success, and he asked me to try and publicise the appeal anywhere I could.
Well, blow me, the first tabloid I phoned (the Star) seemed really interested and asked me not to phone any more papers because they wanted exclusive rights to the story :} I've also emailed PETA UK and *tried* to email the RSPCA, but this proved insanely difficult so I'll phone them on Monday morning. And I've emailed the author of the original article and asked him to publicise this petition.
THANK YOU SO MUCH
to all the people who've already signed. I'm absolutely overwhelmed by the response. Please keep spreading the word and pray that all this works.
FURTHER UPDATE: Tiger's story is definitely getting published in the Express (not the Star) somewhere between Friday and Monday. The RSPCA didn't want to get involved, but PETA were very helpful. They've lent me website space to publicise this petition, and they suggested I contact Company of Animals about legal representation.
10.10.03 - Someone from Company of Animals will hopefully be visiting the shop to assess Tiger's temperament, and then appearing as an expert witness to give evidence that Tiger is soppy :)
We now have a date for the appeal - it's November 7th, which gives us a lot more time than I'd feared. The Express article will be coming out a bit later in the light of that.
Finally, the victim Lucy Couchman has appeared in the paper saying that she and her family don't want Tiger destroyed, though she's also been less than polite about his owner!