A dog that was rescued from certain death following a case of mistaken identity could still be destroyed if a court does not overturn its decision.
Tayside dog Rocco was due to have been put to sleep on Thursday after Police Scotland determined he was a banned pitbull terrier.
But an 11th hour bid by an animal welfare charity saved him – although his life could still be at risk, according to Save Our Seized Dogs.
Jayne Dendle, from the organisation, said: “Since January 2020 Rocco has been placed in the care of kennels where staff describe the dog as brilliant and sociable, they did not report any issues of violence with the dog.
“We believe he should be spared and have the chance of a safe and secure home. Rocco has been the victim of circumstance in his life, resulting in him being taken from his home and placed in kennels where he has not displayed any adverse behaviours, despite his less than perfect home life prior to being seized, Rocco remains friendly and affectionate to all people he meets.”
The dog, whose owner has since died, was involved in a fight which ended in the death of another animal at its home around a year ago.
After the incident, police suspected Rocco could be one of the banned terriers due to his likeness and the SSPCA subsequently agreed.
The dog was taken in by a kennel and was due to be destroyed but the facility decided to contact Save Our Seized Dogs.
Assessment determined Rocco wasn’t a pitbull
When the charity became involved in the case it had Michael Barnett, a canine behaviourist expert, assess the dog and he concluded it wasn’t a pitbull.
Mr Barnett, who is a member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, assessment contradicted the SSPCA, and said that he believed that Rocco met just 35% of the characteristics of a pitbull.
He also stated that “nothing that I witnessed in his behaviour which gave me cause for concern and that would cause me to believe he would present a danger to public safety”.
The charity managed to secure an interim interdict to stop him being destroyed, with further hearings now due to take place.
However, the race is now on to ensure that his life can be saved and he can go to live happily with new owners who have already said they want to take him.
❤ ROCCO UPDATE ❤Firstly, thank you all so much for sharing the appeal for Rocco, we are now in touch with relatives of…
Jayne says the next step for the charity is to get the deceased owner’s family to give evidence that would save the dog’s life.
“We are also now in touch with relatives of his late owner and making progress,” she added.
“However, this does not mean he is safe, it just gives us time to continue to fight for him. This is the first victory in what could be a long road in the fight to save Rocco.
However, the charity has already spent £5,000 in legal costs so far and expects this could soar by the end of the court battle.
She added: “These costs are just the beginning in what could be a very costly legal battle to save his life.”
Anyone who wants to contribute to Rocco’s legal costs can do so at www.peoplesfundraising.com/donation/save-our-seized-dogs
Police Scotland declined to comment.
A Scottish SPCA spokeswoman said: “We can confirm we assisted Police Scotland in relation to a dog seized under section 1 of the Dangerous Dog Act 1991. As this is an on-going case we are unable to comment further at this time”.