An adored family pet which faced being put down for being a ‘dangerous dog’ has finally been returned home for Christmas after a court battle.
Police seized Oscar claiming he was an illegal pit bull terrier – banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act – in October after a complaint from a member of the public.
Pit bull terriers are a banned breed in the UK and illegal to keep unless under strict conditions, including the wearing of a muzzle and a short, non-extendable lead.
Oscar’s owner Lucy Garrod, 28, insisted her dog was a legal Staffordshire bull terrier and said a vet had confirmed this.
However police detained Oscar and it was only after the case heard before magistrats in Chelmsford, Essex, that he was reunited with his family.
The court ruled that Oscar was a banned breed but allowed Lucy to keep him under strict conditions.
Oscar will now have to stay on a muzzle when outside and in the car, he must be kept on a short lead and no-one under the age of 16 can walk him.
The mum-of-three from Braintree, Essex, said: “Oscar is my four-year-old’s best friend. He is like one of the kids, Chase won’t fall asleep unless he’s laid with him.
“He is a happy, one-year- old puppy. My eldest son rocks him to sleep like a baby, he’s almost like my fourth child.”
Lucy’s children – Kai, ten, Levi, nine, and Chase, four – are now overjoyed to have Oscar home, regardless of strict conditions.
She must pay £1,000 in costs after Oscar spent three weeks and one day in a kennel, but says this is nothing compared to the thought of him being put down.
She said: “The whole time I was in court I was trying not to cry. The money’s nothing, his life is more important.
“When I got Oscar I was quite stupid, I found a lady selling them on Facebook. She lived quite a way away and I gave her extra money to bring him to me.
“When he arrived he was all skin and bone, underweight and had infections. She offered to bring all the puppies for me to look at.
“I told the vet he was a Staffordshire bull terrier and the vet said he had a staffie who was exactly the same!
“If they were like him I would have sent her away and kept all of them. It was so much money we spent getting him well we should have called him Cash.”
Under orders placed on Oscar, he cannot be re-homed unless Lucy was to become seriously unwell or unable to look after him.
If he escapes or the conditions are broken, police have the right to take him away under a lifetime destruction order.
Lucy has praised Essex Police for showing sympathy and kindness at what was a difficult time for her family, in particular officer Jamie Edward.
She said: “He deserves a medal, he’s not a typical police officer. He sat and had conversations with me and sat next to me in court.
“He really is an amazing person, I can’t say a bad word about the police. Someone reported him and the police were just doing their job.”
Lucy has asked people to remember Oscar has never hurt another person or animal, but must still be muzzled in public.
She said this has led to people crossing the street to avoid them.
She added: “Someone the other day put their dog in a bush almost to avoid Oscar. People go out of their way to avoid him, but he’s only young and he loves everyone.
“Oscar won’t bite anyone, but the muzzle puts people off. I’ve found older people are the ones who come up and stroke him.
“He’s great with kids, he will let my sons roll all over him and he doesn’t touch them.”
Oscar is delighted to be back for Christmas at his family home with Lucy and the kids at their home.