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XL Bully Dog Case Lands Worthing Resident in Court

Patrick McKeown, a resident of central Worthing, has faced legal repercussions after being found in possession of an XL Bully type dog in violation of recently enacted legislation. The 40-year-old was brought to the attention of authorities during an unrelated police inquiry, where he disclosed ownership of the XL Bully breed without the required exemptions mandated by the new regulations, which came into effect on February 1.

McKeown’s failure to adhere to the legislation extended beyond lack of exemption; he neglected to have the dog neutered and failed to secure third-party insurance. Furthermore, reports indicated the dog was observed roaming freely within the property’s backyard, raising concerns over public safety.

Alarming officers further, McKeown cautioned that his dog posed a threat, ready to attack any approaching individuals. Consequently, law enforcement executed a warrant at his residence, resulting in the seizure of the dog.

Appearing before Worthing Magistrates’ Court on March 12, McKeown, a former builder residing on Church Road, Tarring, admitted to one count of possessing a fighting dog, contravening the Dangerous Dogs Act. In response, the court issued a one-year community order, mandating 100 hours of unpaid work. Additionally, McKeown was directed to pay £85 in costs and a £114 surcharge.

In a contentious decision, the court also sanctioned the destruction of the dog, pending an appeal.

Chief Inspector Simon Starns, who is the force lead for responding to dangerous dogs, said: “This was one of the first cases of its type to be prosecuted in Sussex.

“It demonstrates to the public that owners have a responsibility to ensure that they comply with the new laws which are now in force.

“We continue to work closely with partners to ensure dogs are kept safe through responsible ownership and to reduce the risk to the public.

“We continue to ask all dog owners to comply with Government guidance on the ownership of the XL Bully breed of dog.

“This includes ensuring that all XL Bully breed dogs are muzzled and kept on a lead held by someone aged over 16 when in public places.”

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