Eight seized dogs after a woman was mauled to death in Surrey could remain ‘in kennels for a year’

The eight dogs that were seized after a woman in her 20s was mauled to death in Surrey could remain ‘in kennels for a year’

  • The 28-year-old dog walker was tragically mauled to death by some of the pets
  • A witness described at least four of the dogs pulling at the woman
  • Owners could be kept apart from their pets from six to 18 months 

The owners of eight dogs seized by police after a professional dog walker was mauled to death at a Surrey beauty spot could be kept apart from their pets for a year, The Mail on Sunday has learned.

Determining what role, if any, each animal played in the attack and which one inflicted the fatal wound was described by sources close to the case as a ‘long and complex process’.

One said: ‘This is an extremely anxious time for all the families involved, For some, if not all, it is like being parted from a baby.’

Two pathologists have been assigned to the case – described by a source as a ‘canine whodunnit’ – and their findings will decide the dogs’ fate.

In custody: Leonberger Shiva is one of the dogs held in private kennels

In custody: Leonberger Shiva is one of the dogs held in private kennels

‘The dogs aren’t going to be returned to their families for six to 18 months,’ said one source. ‘Realistically, it’s going to be at least 12 months as it’s such a complex process.’

It is understood that two dachshunds, a collie, a cockapoo and an 11 st Leonberger called Shiva were among the group the 28-year-old woman was walking. All are being held in private kennels.

A witness described at least four of the dogs pulling at the woman as she sat on the ground, unable to get up during the attack earlier this month.

Another source said: ‘Dog bites and scratches on the victim will be examined and the depth and distance between each puncture will be measured. Then the veterinary pathologist will map out the dogs’ dental forms. This might involve taking casts or measurements. He’ll look at both bits of evidence to make matches.

A woman laying flowers where the dog mauling took place as she pays her respects

A woman laying flowers where the dog mauling took place as she pays her respects

‘The state of the injuries, if they are really bad, may slow this progress down. If there are lots of bites and puncture marks, it will be very difficult as the pathologist will struggle to ascertain which pairs of puncture marks went together. If that’s the case, it could be you’re never going to work out who was guilty.’

Each dog will undergo a behavioural assessment. ‘This would normally be repeated multiple times to ensure a good understanding of how the dog behaves,’ said the source.

‘The only way the dogs get free is after a court has given their judgment. First, the assessments need completing, then the paperwork is submitted, and police complete their reports. It’s more than likely all dogs will need testing before one gets released.’

Any dogs judged too dangerous to be released may be destroyed.

Experts said the long-term impact of kennel confinement on the dogs depends on their personality.

‘If the dog was nervous or reactive, it is going to have far-reaching impacts,’ one said.

Source

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