Top lawyer whose dog mauled Freddie the seal will face no criminal charges

no further action against owner of dog that attacked freddie the seal
The dog’s owner Rebecca Sabben-Clare said she wishes she put her dog on a lead (Picture: Duncan Phillips)
The owner of a dog that mauled a seal by the River Thames will not face criminal charges. Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC said she was ‘heartbroken by this terrible accident’ and apologised. The top barrister attempted to pull her dog off the seal – affectionately named Freddie Mercury by locals in Barnes, west London – but the animal suffered serious injuries and was put down at South Essex Wildlife Hospital in Tilbury. Miss Sabben-Clare said: ‘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 it did not seem necessary.

‘I am hugely grateful to all those who helped at the scene. They were heroic.’

She also made a donation to the hospital which treated Freddie, praising the ‘wonderful work’ it does. The Metropolitan Police said there would be no criminal action or further investigation taken by police.
Freddie's flipper is fractured and the joint dislocated. Seals do not take anaesthetic well as they have a dive reflex and don't breath. Although an attempt could be made to pin the fracture, it would be impossible to immobilise the limb to give it time to heal. More challenging is the dislocation which is not repairable. The flipper is very swollen and despite antibiotics and pain relief the seal is clearly very uncomfortable and reluctant to eat. We suspect the infection is spreading and with the other bite wounds to his body he is very miserable. At this stage we believe the only ethical and fair option we have is to end his suffering. We are currently confirming this with bdmlr . We know this is a well loved seal from the amazing response we have had to his story but he is not the only seal we have had to care for that this has happened to. Please folks do not go near seals and always, always, keep dogs on leads and under control. https://www.facebook.com/southessexwildlife/posts/282156626602152
The seal was nicknamed Freddie Mercury after becoming a local celebrity around Barnes (Picture: Facebook)
A photographer nearby tries to pull the dog away as its owner looks on
The dog’s owner and several others rushed to pull the dog off the seal (Picture: Duncan Phillips)

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A force spokesperson said: ‘Police have investigated the death of a seal after it was injured by a dog on the River Thames near Hammersmith Bridge. ‘Officers attended the location at approximately 12.39hrs on Sunday March 21 along with colleagues from the London Fire Brigade.

‘Following the investigation, there will be no further criminal investigation or criminal action taken by police in regards to this matter.’

Miss Sabben-Clare was interviewed by the RSPCA who said it was not a case of deliberate cruelty so it was not an incident they would investigate.
?Freddie? the seal attacked by dog near Hammersmith Bridge
The seal had to be put down after suffering serious injuries (Picture: Duncan Phillips)
Dog owner and dog that attacked seal watch as Passersbys tend to the seal after it was attacked near Hammersmith Bridge ?? Duncan Phillips Tel 07774-161-573 duncanphillips@mac.com NUJ recommended terms & conditions apply. Moral rights asserted under Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988. Credit is required. No part of this photo to be stored, reproduced, manipulated or transmitted by any means without permission.
The Met Police and RSPCA said they would not take any further action (Picture: Duncan Phillips)

The charity said it was ‘deeply saddened’ by the incident and that it highlighted the need to keep dogs on leads near wild animals.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: ‘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.

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‘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.’

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