North West Wales

NWP officers who killed dog on A55 referred to watchdog

A foxhound and the relevant stretch of the A55 Image copyright Google/Thinkstock
Image caption The dog (similar to foxhound pictured) was running loose in traffic

Officers who deliberately ran down and killed a dog while it was running loose on the A55 in Conwy have been referred to the police watchdog.

North Wales Police said the foxhound could not be brought under control and the "only safe option" was to destroy it in the early hours of Monday.

Police said the dog's owner was "devastated" but agreed officers had made the right decision.

Police and crime commissioner Winston Roddick is looking into the matter.

Traffic police drove at the dog on the dual carriageway between Llanfairfechan roundabout and the Conwy tunnel.

North Wales Police said firearms officers were sent to the scene, but there was concern they would not be able to get a safe shot.

The case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The dog had gone missing from a hunt and police said the owner supported the force's decision.

Chf Supt Sacha Hatchett said: "He [the owner] said he appreciates that given the risk to human life, the officers made the correct decision. He is supportive of the police as had there been a serious accident he said he could not have lived with himself."

Ch Insp Darren Wareing, of the roads policing unit, said police had not taken the decision to kill the dog lightly and it came after an officer was bitten while trying to bring the animal under control.

He said the "potential for a serious collision was present throughout" and there was "no alternative way" for them to minimise risks to motorists.

"The only safe option was to run the dog over at sufficient speed to ensure that it was destroyed and would not suffer. Other methods of destruction were considered, but were ruled out on the grounds of public safety," he added.

"Both officers have their own dogs and did not take this decision lightly. Due to the seriousness of the incident it needed bringing to a conclusion quickly for the safety of all concerned."

Oncoming traffic

North Wales PCC, Mr Roddick, said: "These were highly unusual circumstances and it was a difficult judgement to make, especially as I understand both officers concerned are dog owners themselves.

"I will be raising the matter with the force and I will be asking a number of questions because it is important to ensure the matter is looked into fully."

Charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has criticised the police action.

Director Mimi Bekhechi said: "Law enforcement officers are entrusted with protecting the innocent and the vulnerable, and that does not include deliberately running them over with the intent to kill."

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