Bid to save dog found eating dead owner

Police dog handler Stuart Davidson uses a technique known as an 'alpha roll' to pin Buster down. Photo / YouTube
Police dog handler Stuart Davidson uses a technique known as an 'alpha roll' to pin Buster down. Photo / YouTube

On the evidence of this video a UK judge decided Buster the dog had to be put down.

She ruled the canine was just too dangerous to handle and ordered him to be destroyed.

The elderly nine-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier was deemed a "danger to public safety" after he was seized by Merseyside police last September.


Buster was found eating the body of his owner in Waterloo, Sefton, although it is unclear whether he had carried out an attack, reports the Liverpool Echo.

He was then kept in kennels for nearly a year until a court ordered the terrier to be put to sleep.

Yet an appeal has now been launched to the High Court by a charity hoping to adopt the canine.

Footage of Buster's temperament assessment, carried out by Police dog handler PC Stuart Davidson, shows the officer forcing the dog into a sit position.

He then pins Buster on his side and tries to pick him up.

Yet as he pushes down on the dog, in a technique known as an 'alpha roll', the canine snarls and bites the PC.

Police dog handler Stuart Davidson uses a technique known as an 'alpha roll' to pin Buster down. Photo / YouTube
Police dog handler Stuart Davidson uses a technique known as an 'alpha roll' to pin Buster down. Photo / YouTube

The video formed part of the evidence shown to a court in April during a lengthy legal battle between Merseyside Police and the Senior Staffy Club charity.

Police stood by the court's decision, saying it had 'grave concerns' Buster could attack and injure adults or children.

Supported by the dead owner's family, they said the video was proof of the dog's danger.

Yet according to the Liverpool Echo, experts from around the world have condemned the judge's verdict as 'outdated'.

Behaviourist Victoria Stillwell said Buster was "set up to fail," claiming "Alpha rolls are a very outdated technique that exacerbate aggressive responses even in the mildest of dogs."

She said: "The officer is putting Buster in a very very stressed situation. He's not offering an opinion on his body language or his behaviour, he is just assuming he knows what the dog is thinking.

"The officer clearly misunderstands what he has put Buster through and he totally has misread his body language signals, or just doesn't understand them.

"Buster has been set up for failure from the start," added Stillwell, who runs her own dog training TV show in the US.

By contrast, Merseyside Police argue PC Davidson is a highly experienced handler who used a "common, long established method".

A spokesperson said: "The dog behaved aggressively on seizure and in subsequent assessments by officers. There was no evidence of a material change in the dog's behaviour whilst in police approved kennels and there was no evidence to suggest that that it would change in the foreseeable future.

"The police being mindful of their duty to protect the right to life, believed that it was appropriate to refer the matter to the court, so that they could consider whether a dog which had, on examination and historically displayed highly aggressive tendencies should remain in the community.

"The Court made the decision having regard to all the evidence presented to it including evidence from the interested party, which was rejected.

"We offer our condolences to the family of the dog's owner, who died. Throughout the proceedings the family were supportive of the police action and the force was pleased that this outcome is the one that they wanted."

A counter-assessment-video featuring Buster and Dr Roger Mugford from the Senior Staffy Club was rejected by District Judge Wendy Lloyd.

The case is currently being referred to the High Court for judicial review.

- Daily Mail

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