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PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Dead seal QC should muzzle her dog, not the media

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Dead seal QC should muzzle her dog, not the media

Who can fail to have been horrified by the sight of Freddie the seal pup being savagely attacked by a snarling dog on the banks of the Thames at the weekend.

The beast was eventually pulled off the defenceless creature by passers-by while the dog’s owner looked on.

But it was too late for Freddie, who had to be put down at a nearby wildlife hospital. 

This incident bore none of the usual hallmarks of such attacks. The dog was not an illegal pit bull and its owner not a feckless member of the shell-suit-wearing classes.

Freddie had to be put down in a nearby wildlife hospital after the attack along the Thames

 It turned out that the terrier-cross in question belonged to a leading barrister, Rebecca Sabben-Clare.

Despite signs requesting owners to keep their dogs on a lead — she had let her dog off the leash attached to her jogging belt. To her credit, Ms Sabben-Clare handed over her details to the vet treating the stricken Freddie before returning with her dog to the nearby £6 million mansion where she lives.

 And that might have been that. But when the scale of the public outrage at what had happened became clear, she enlisted Harry and Meghan’s ferociously expensive privacy lawyers, Schillings, in a vain attempt to keep her name out of the story.

Allow me to nail my colours to the mast. As regular readers know, I have a cat, Ted, yet I am a dog lover and often walk my friends’ pets. During lockdown, dogs have been a godsend. I’ve become friends with at least a dozen that I now know by name on Hampstead Heath.

Rebecca Sabben-Clare, pictured

Rebecca Sabben-Clare, pictured 

Most owners are kindly and considerate. But I have witnessed several incidents involving fierce breeds, let loose by their owners, savaging not just other dogs, but other owners.

Ms Sabben-Clare says she is ‘heartbroken’ by the incident, yet she and her unnamed dog have avoided prosecution.

The pictures of her dog savaging Freddie are hard to look at. It launched itself onto the seal’s back, teeth bared, as the helpless creature squealed in pain, tearing at his neck then ripping apart his flipper. If a dog can do that to a vulnerable seal pup, what could it do to a child?

Much as it pains me to say it, when a vicious dog reveals its true nature, it should be put down. And shame on Ms Sabben-Clare for, instead of muzzling her dog, attempting to muzzle the Press.

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