Police weigh legal action over killer dog

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 January, 1994, 12:00am

DETECTIVES are considering taking legal action against the owner of a dog that mauled an eight-year-old Sheung Shui girl to death.

A court order may also be taken out by the Government to have the killer dog put down pending further investigations.

Both decisions hinge upon recommendations given to the police and the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) by legal advisers.

Villagers in Sheung Shui say they are afraid the dog will be allowed to return home and will petition the Government to have the animal destroyed.

The girl's parents were too distressed to speak yesterday.

Police continued to question neighbours and relatives of Liu Wing-yan who died after a 20-minute attack by the Great Dane owned by her uncle who lived next door.

Sheung Shui Assistant Divisional Commander Chief Inspector Louisa Peasley described the killing as ''horrific'' and said she would be asking for police legal experts to assess what action could be taken.

''If the law allows, we will consider taking legal action against the dog owner, but first we must complete our investigation,'' Mrs Peasley said.

''It is unlikely that a manslaughter charge could be laid because it was the dog which was responsible for the attack. Maybe there is some room for a charge relating to negligence and we will consider all these options.

''Dogs are something of a problem in this area but I understand that the attack was unprovoked.'' She said there were very few serious dog attacks in her division but many households had more than one dog.

It is expected that the AFD, which is at present holding the dog and testing it for rabies, will seek to keep the dog and have it put down.

If the owner refuses to give the dog to the AFD, a court order will be sought to have it destroyed.

on the grounds that it poses a risk to the public.