Concern grows about dog attacks on wild animals in wake of Freddie's death

  Posted: 24.03.21 at 10:50 by Cameron Eyles & Ellie Brown

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IN the wake of the fatal dog attack on a seal that had become a local celebrity with residents and walkers by the Thames in Teddington, concern has been raised about the increase in attack by dogs on wild animals by the river.

A spokesperson for the Port of London, which controls the river, says the authority (PLA) confirmed the problem was a rising concern.

PLA spokesperson Martin Garside spoke after reports named the owner of the dog that attacked Freddie the seal on the boating slipway by Hammersmith Bridge on Sunday afternoon as a barrister – who may yet face action from the police who are investigating the incident and have called for witnesses.

Mr Garside said he was aware, anecdotally of “other reports of dogs attacking swans and geese. “This is a growing problem” he commented.

Meanwhile the Times is among sources that have named Rebecca Sabben-Clare, a 49-year-old QC whose father was the headmaster of Winchester College, as the owner of the dog which attacked Freddie, who initially survived the attack after intervention by passers-by and a rescue mission involving firefighters on the river, the PLA and the Port of Tilbury where Freddie was rushed to get treatment at the South Essex Wildlife Hospital.

Sadly, despite best efforts, they were unable to save the 10-month-old seal pup who was later humanely put to sleep.

The animal’s death has reignited calls for dog-owners to exercise better control of their pets and the Met Police have appealed for witnesses to Sunday’s attack to come forward. They are seeking to identify witnesses and would like to speak to the owner of the dog which attacked Freddie. Anyone with information should call 101 and quote the reference 0702604/21.

If proven to be the owner, it is possible that Ms Sabben-Clare, who specialises in commercial law, was educated at Winchester College and Oxford University, before being called to the bar in 1993 and taking silk in 2012 could find herself in need of defence.

It is against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control in a public place and a dog is considered dangerously out of control if it injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them.

As well as attacking Freddie, the dog involved in Sunday’s incident bit rescuers. The dramatic incident was detailed here on Teddington Nub News. You can read the report here.. Be warned it contains graphic images.

A justgiving page raising money for Freddie's rescuers, the British Divers and Marine Life Rescue, has now reached £9,000.

The fundraiser is available HERE

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