Islington pit bull that went berserk will be put down

AN ISLINGTON man jailed after his American pit bull went berserk at a Tube station has lost his battle to save his dog from death.

Ross Francis Jobe, 20, of Wheeler Gardens, Islington, was jailed for 16 weeks by a judge at Snaresbrook Crown Court in June after he admitted being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control in a public place.

A further 36 weeks was added to his jail term because he committed the offence whilst on a suspended sentence for affray, which he received in August 2008.

While accepting his term of imprisonment, Jobe brought his case to the Court of Appeal to ask that two-year-old Rocky be spared the destruction order imposed by the judge at Snaresbrook.

But three senior judges refused to overturn the order, meaning Rocky, who has been kept at a police pound since the incident, will be put down.

Judge Peter Jacobs told the court Jobe and Rocky had been at Leicester Square underground station in April this year when the dog had become uncontrollable.

Jobe tied the animal to a bench but petrified passengers called the police who in turn called a specialist dog handler. Rocky bit the handler, who was luckily wearing a protective suit, before he was taken away to police cells.

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Representing Jobe in court this week, Gordon Johnson said his client had owned the pet for two years and had often taken him on public transport without any trouble.

He said Rocky had become scared by the noise of the trains on this occasion, but had since been examined by an expert and found to pose no danger in calmer conditions.

Rocky was found to be a prohibited breed of American pit bull, but Mr Johnson said the expert had found him not to be a particularly dangerous example.

On behalf of his client, Mr Johnson asked judges to overturn the destruction order, and to reduce an eight-year ban on keeping a dog imposed on Jobe. He said friends of Jobe would look after the animal until Jobe was out of prison and had completed his ban.

But judges said there was too much confusion as to who would look after the dog before Jobe got out of jail.

Judge Jacobs, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Openshaw, told the court: “We have given very anxious consideration to this matter and have come to the conclusion that the proposals set out are not sufficiently realistic to enable us to act on them.

“The behaviour of this dog fully justifies its destruction, but, whilst the applicant’s record fully justifies some prohibition on his keeping a dog, taking everything into account we feel that eight years is too long.

“Therefore we substitute a prohibition for five years.”