My Celebrity Life

Chris Packham says dog owner is to blame for Freddie Mercury the seal’s death after attack

Chris Packham has said the owner of the dog who killed Freddie Mercury the seal is to blame for his death.

This week, Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC’s pet dog mauled the wild seal – nicknamed after the Queen singer – when she took the animal for a walk on the River Thames.

The seal had to be put down, with the top barrister saying she’d been left ‘heartbroken’ by the incident, and wished she’d put her dog on a lead.

Speaking on GMB, wildlife enthusiast and Springwatch star Chris said there are some ‘exceptional circumstances’ when dogs may have to be put down after an attack, for example if they can’t be rehabilitated, but ultimately it’s down to the owner to make sure the animal is safe.

Pointing out that dogs are descended from wolves, he added: ‘It’s up to us as the owners to responsibly manage the dog.’

‘Had the dog been on the lead, that attack would not have taken place,’ he explained.

‘The onus has to fall upon the owner to make sure they can manage their dog properly,’ Chris added, explaining that he often takes his pet poodle to a nature reserve in the summer, but always makes sure to put her on a lead to protect other wildlife.

The seal had to be put down (Picture: British Divers Marine Life Rescue)

‘We can’t blame the dogs for harbouring that natural instinct, I’m afraid,’ he went on.

While presenter Alex Beresford pointed out that dog training classes aren’t easily accessible at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chris explained that there are other options.

‘Frankly, you can go online and learn how to train your dog – it’s not rocket science,’ he said.

‘You want your dog to be a socially acceptable animal, as well as one that’s safe to be around.’

Mrs Sabben-Clare says she regrets not putting her dog on a lead

Mrs Sabben-Clare attempted to pull her dog off the seal during the incident.

But the animal suffered a broken bone, a dislocated flipper and joint, ligament and nerve damage and had to be put down by staff at South Essex Wildlife Hospital in Tilbury.

Speaking to The Evening Standard, Ms Sabben-Clare, who will face no criminal charges, said: ‘I am heartbroken by this terrible accident. As an animal lover, I fully understand the dismay that has been expressed.

‘I apologise unreservedly for what happened. In hindsight I wish, of course, that the dog had been on a lead but at the time that did not seem necessary.

The wildlife enthusiast says owners should make sure their dogs are safe (Picture: ITV/REX)

‘I am hugely grateful to all those who helped at the scene. They were heroic. I left for my own safety and that of my dog, believing that there was nothing that I could do to help as the seal was being looked after by a vet and help had been called. I offered my contact details to the vet before leaving.’

Ms Sabben-Clare has donated to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital, saying it does ‘wonderful work’.

A Met Police statement on Tuesday said they were looking to speak to the owner of the dog.

The barrister says she repeatedly tried to contact police in response to their statement, but they have not been in contact.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA told ‘We are deeply saddened by what happened to Freddie and this highlights why it is important to keep dogs on leads around wild animals.

‘We investigate animal welfare offences. Dog attacks on animals would become an animal welfare offence if it was done deliberately. If no offences have been committed under relevant animal welfare acts we are unable to take incidents further. Offences involving dogs out of control are investigated by the police.

‘In this instance, we spoke to the owner and as this was not a case of deliberate cruelty, it is not an offence we would investigate. The police are continuing to look into this and we are happy to assist them if needed.’

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.

Credit: Original article published here.

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