Pit Bull Kills Beloved Cat and Attacks Child, Father Calls Court Decision A "Disgrace”

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

When Neil Burke, 47, took an afternoon nap recently at his home, he left his front door open and his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Buster, escaped and entered the neighboring yard of John Dawson, according to the Bedfordshire News. .(Carlton is a suburb just east of Nottingham, U.K.)

There Buster spotted a beloved black-and white kitten belonging to Dawson’s 10-year-old son, Albert. The Pit Bull attacked and killed the beloved pet as the child first tried to hold onto the cat but then could only watch helplessly.

John Dawson testified that his son was also bitten by the Pit Bull and that “Alfred is still nervous about going into our back garden, and scared of going near dogs.

On Wednesday, a Judge at Luton Magistrate’s Court was told that two-year-old Buster is a ‘serial escaper’ and already had got out from the Burke’s property in The Causeway  on seven or eight prior occasions. 

The court was reminded by John Dawson that his son, Alfred, watched the dog grab his kitten in its mouth and  swing it from side to side.

However, the behavioral expert who assessed Buster determined that he isn’t a danger to humans.

Burke pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage and one count of a dog causing injury in a private place.  He also told the magistrates he has taken steps to ensure Buster does not escape - ‘I’ve built a stockade sir’, he said.

His defense attorney, Parminder Matharu, told the court, “The defendant has not worked for a number of years now because he’s had issues with alcohol which has led to memory problems.”

Before announcing his sentence, one of the magistrates told Burke, “It’s important your memory is sound because you’ve got to remember the terms of this order.”

“Buster lives”—indicating that he is allowed to keep the Staffordshire Bull Terrier [but], he added. “We are going to make a contingent destruction order.”

The court order exempts Buster from euthanasia providing he is kept on a leash and muzzled while in public.

levied a fine Burke in the amount of £280 The court also (USD $450).

John Dawson called the punishment issued by the court “a disgrace,” stating that dozens of people in Carlton have expressed outrage that an opportunity has been missed to end a nuisance that Burke and his dogs have been causing for nearly two years.

 “I am faced with a bill of over £2,000 to erect dog-proof fencing…this problem will not end until either the dog escapes again as it surely will, and is put down; or Burke finally sees sense, gets this dog rehomed a long way from Carlton and buys himself a Chihuahua.”  

Sources: Bedfordshire News, Trimark Legal Funding