An Alsatian dog who was “dangerously out of control” and bit three people won’t be put down after a court was told he had undergone a “remarkable” transformation.
Daniel Murray’s pet Zack attacked two women and a man on three consecutive days and also lunged at a police officer and a child in the city centre of Aberdeen.
In cases such as these, courts will often issue a destruction order and the dog is humanely destroyed, however, on this occasion, the sheriff decided Zack was no longer a threat to the public after being rehomed.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told Murray, 43, had allowed the dog to go wild during a “grief window” following the death of his mother.
On April 29 2019, on the grounds of Cornhill Hospital, Zack approached a woman and bit her. She was not injured.
The following day, at the same place, he did the same to a different woman, this time injuring her.
And on July 1 Murray and Zack were in George Street and a man was bitten by the Alsatian. He was also injured.
On all the occasions Zack was off the lead and unmuzzled.
Several weeks later, on July 31, Zack was behaving aggressively in the Castlegate, where he barked and lunged at both a child and a policewoman.
Dog faced destruction order over attacks
Murray’s defence solicitor Ian Hingston told the court his client had been battling a crack cocaine addiction at the time but has turned his life around.
Mr Hingston said: “There were moments when it would have been easy to write Mr Murray off – but he has cleaned up his act.
“But I think where we need to start is in relation to Zack himself and the order that the court may consider making today.
“We have this aggravated offence and the court will make a destruction order unless certain things happen.
“The question is whether or not Zack constitutes a danger to public safety.”
‘Clear as day’ dog had made a transformation
Mr Hingston added that the Alsatian had been assessed by an expert who reported that it was “clear as day” that the dog posed no danger to people any longer.
He described the report into Zack’s transformation since 2019 as “quite remarkable”, adding that “this is a dog that had caused nobody any bother over the last two years”.
Sheriff Margaret Hodge told Murray: “I have to take into account whether you are a fit and proper person to be in charge of a dog.
“I take into account that you have managed to overcome various personal problems, but what I’m going to today is I’m going to exercise my discretion not to order the destruction of the dog on the basis that he is transferred into the hands of a third party.”
She disqualified Murray, of Urquhart Road, Aberdeen, from owning a dog for three years and made him subject to a one-year community payback order.