‘My two-year nightmare is over’ - Dog owner cleared of hitting his British bulldog

PUBLISHED: 10:27 10 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:27 10 October 2020

Annie the British Bulldog. Picture: Alan Golder

Annie the British Bulldog. Picture: Alan Golder

Alan Golder

A dog owner said his nightmare was finally over after he was cleared of causing unnecessary suffering to his British bulldog Annie.

Alan Golder, 53, of Morse Road, Norwich, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to his bulldog Annie following a trial at Norwich Magistrates Court in September last year, in a prosecution brought by the RSPCA.

During the trial, the magistrates’ court heard that Golder was heard by other dog walkers hitting and shouting at his British bulldog, Annie, when taking her and another bulldog, called Bear, for a walk in Pilling Park, Norwich, on November 12, 2018.

He had denied the offence, claiming he had not struck his dog but was trying to remove a stick she had in her mouth because she was not allowed sticks.

He had told the court that he was a caring responsible dog owner who adored his dogs: “I would never strike my dogs. I love them to bits.”

However, he was convicted by magistrates and was fined £120 and ordered to pay £500 costs plus a £30 surcharge.

Golder was back in court on Friday when he appealed the conviction at a hearing at Norwich Crown Court.

After nearly a day-long hearing of evidence, Judge Maureen Baker upheld the appeal by Golder against his conviction of the charge of causing unnecessary suffering to his pet.

She said they had heard a considerable amount of evidence in the case and said they could not be sure of the conviction in the magistrates court.

She said that criminal matters had to be proved to a high standard.

Matthew Edwards prosecuted the case on behalf of the RSPCA.

Sara-Lise Howe, who appeared for Golder at the appeal, said: “The case demonstrates that the RSPCA have once again failed in their duties as a prosecutor to consider evidence which supports the defence. This case should never have come to court.”

Afterwards Golder said that his successful appeal had ended a nightmare for him and his family.

He praised his barrister and said: “I am truly relieved and thankful for the careful consideration of my case by the judge. I love my dogs to bits and the last two years has been a nightmare for me and my family, which is finally over.”

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