North Yorkshire Police said dog had ‘acted on its natural instincts’ when their poorly trained police dog failed to catch suspects and ate George the Rabbit who belonged to a young girl named Melissa Richardson who loved him like family.
After letting him out of his hutch to enjoy the fresh air, she had looked through the window to see the dog jump over the fence.
‘George was pottering around but the dog ran up to the hutch, where my three other rabbits were,’ she said. ‘It was barking like mad and scratching at the hutch trying to get at them. That was when it turned and saw George.
‘It ran up and started shaking him. I ran out shouting and that was when the handler jumped over the fence. He shouted at the dog to drop George but it wouldn’t.
‘It went on for about a minute but, at the time, it seemed like forever. I was screaming and sobbing but there was nothing I could do.’
Miss Richardson, a support worker from York, said George was ‘covered in blood’ when the dog eventually dropped him.
‘I picked him up and carried him inside and he died in my arms about a minute later,’ she added.
‘I was inconsolable. I’ve had George since I was seven and can’t put into words how I felt being unable to protect him. The dog was clearly out of control and had run away from its handler.
‘The men they were chasing hadn’t even been in our garden.
‘I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if there had been kids in the garden.
‘I’ve been devastated. I haven’t been eating properly and had to leave work early because I couldn’t stop crying. Not being able to give George a cuddle has left me heartbroken.’
Officers from North Yorkshire Police consoled Miss Richardson and she also received a personal apology from Sergeant Simon Whitby, head of the dog section.
He said: ‘We all feel terrible and have apologised profusely for the distress this has caused.
‘The police dog simply acted on its natural instincts and grabbed hold of the rabbit.’
Miss Richardson, who buried George in the garden that evening, said she turned down a police offer to buy her a replacement pet.
‘Some people might think that it’s only a rabbit, but I’d had him for so long, he was like family,’ she said. ‘I’d give him cuddles and let him out so he could roam the garden. I really miss him.’
News published on: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2307803/Police-dog-chasing-suspect-gardens-stops-maul-pet-rabbit-death.html