Danny Kruger MP fined over puppy's Richmond Park deer stampede

image copyrightPA Media
image captionDanny Kruger admitted causing or permitting an animal to chase or worry another animal

An MP whose puppy caused a stampede by chasing a herd of 200 deer in London's Richmond Park has been fined.

Danny Kruger, 46, admitted losing control of his 11-month-old Jack Russell, Pebble, during a walk with his family on 20 March.

Mr Kruger was the prime minister's political secretary before his election as MP for Devizes in Wiltshire in 2019.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard the MP had been distracted by his young son when Pebble dashed off.

Prosecution lawyer Dominic Hockley quipped: "It's been said it only takes one pebble to start an avalanche. In this case it only took one Pebble to start a stampede."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe 2,500-acre park is London's largest royal park and is home to about 300 red deer and 300 fallow deer

The court heard that Mr Kruger had been on a long walk in the busy park with his wife and three children when PC Samantha Riggs spotted the dog running towards the deer. Many were pregnant, and were left in a "panicked state".

Volunteer ranger Duncan MacCallum said he asked Mr Kruger to call his puppy back, "which seemed to spur him into action", the court heard.

In footage filmed by a member of the public and taken from the police officer's body-worn camera, Mr Kruger can be heard repeatedly shouting "Pebble" before putting his dog on a lead.

The MP, who lives in Hammersmith, west London, was said to have been "contrite and apologetic" following the incident, which lasted about 45 seconds, telling police: "I'm sorry, I had no idea, I didn't see the deer. Anyway, obviously he needs to be on a lead."

Mr Kruger, who admitted the charge of causing or permitting an animal to chase or worry another animal in a royal park, was told to pay a fine and costs totalling £719.

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