Owner Desperate to Have Dogs Home

A Devon pet owner is desperate to have her loving dogs returned after they were confiscated by police.

Five year olds Molly and Finn were bred by north Devon couple Steven and Tracey Tewkesbury who have been convicted for possessing and selling Pitbull type dogs.

They're now being kept by police until magistrates decide whether they are safe enough to be returned.

But owner, Debbie, from Chudleigh, says the dogs are loving and have never shown any signs of aggression.  She bought them believing them to be Irish Staffords.  She's been talking to our reporter Wendy Buckingham  CLICK HERE

Police believe 37 people in Devon and Cornwall have bought dogs from the Tewkesburys and there are probably about 100 of the dogs nationally.

Mr and Mrs Tewkesbury of Jordan Close, Newport, Barnstaple,  pleaded guilty to offences of possession and the offering to supply dangerous dogs (pitbulls), contrary to section 1(7) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

They have both been sentenced to three months in jail suspended for a year. They've also each been fined £500 and ordered to carry out 150 hours community service. 
 
Devon and Cornwall Police have now started Operation Doorstop 2, to find all the dogs which have been sold by the couple.  
Detective Inspector Praveen Naidoo said: 'The operation is intelligence led. The aim is to identify Pit Bull type dogs that are in the community having been sold by Mr & Mrs Tewkesbury as Irish Staffords and ensure that the risk any dog may present is mitigated by use of Court orders.'
 
'Whilst it is a criminal offence to own a Pit Bull type dog, unless there are aggravating circumstances around the ownership of the dog it will not be our intention to prosecute owners. Our priority is to ensure that any risk the dog may present to the community and the family in which it is resident is mitigated.'
 
Police sergeant Tony Whitting said: 'Once a dog has been identified as a Pit Bull type the dog can either be destroyed under the order of the Court or if they are satisfied it would not constitute a danger to the public it can be returned. If a Pit Bull Type dog is returned it must be owned under certain strict conditions. These are that it is micro chipped, tattooed, insured, neutered, muzzled in public and kept on a lead and held by someone 16 or over.'
 

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