Tug-of-war pitbull back home after execution stay

Robert Prescott gets Missy back
Robert Prescott gets Missy back

A banned dog which was the subject of an animal cruelty prosecution andsaved from lethal injection is finally back with her original owner.

Robert Prescott from Leigh feared the worst when the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs said it would challenge a magistrates’ court ruling that the RSPCA could hand back a pitbull-type dog that it rescued to him for safe keeping.

The 39-year-old from Linden Grove was the first owner of the dog and had gifted it to former girlfriend Rachel McKenzie four years ago but then she had gone on to be starved and neglected by her.

The police had recommended that Missy, who has never attacked anyone or any other pet, be put down under the terms of the Dangerous Dogs Act. But Mr Prescott persuaded Wigan justices that he could care for the animal while abiding by strict conditions such as muzzling her in public and keeping her away from children.

He also argued at the folly and irony of going to trouble of saving the pet from neglect, prosecuting someone for it and then having her killed.

But Defra said it would appeal and so this week a barrister for the department, along with lawyers for both the Greater Manchester Chief Constable and Mr Prescott took the argument back to Wigan and Leigh Magistrates.

And, after a long and complex debate, the justices were satisfied that they had NOT made a procedural error and as such will be standing by their original decision to exempt Missy.

This week Missy’s suffering finally ended when the exemption certificate issued by DEFRA

finally allowed her to go home.

Mr Prescott said: “It’s not sunk in yet for either of us. We can’t believe it but we are really grateful for all the help we had to get her home.” Kate Welch, a partner at law firm Parry Welch Lacey which represented Mr Prescott, said, “We are very pleased that Missy has been able to return home. The successful outcome in this case was due to the efforts of many people who supported Missy and who raised funds for the legal battle we have undertaken.”