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Pitbull owner ordered to pay $7,340 in damages for attack that killed dog

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A pitbull terrier (file photograph)

A 67-year-old man has been ordered to pay more than $7,000 in damages after his pitbull attacked and killed another dog.

Clifton Williams had pleaded guilty to owning a “pitbull-type dog” without a licence or permission to do so at an earlier hearing in Magistrates’ Court.

He had also admitted to owning the dog, named Dora, which caused the death of another dog, named Frankie, owned by Akhil Kapur.

The court heard that a caregiver was walking Frankie near Williams’ home in Mount Hill Road, Pembroke, when Dora ran from the property and attacked the pet.

Magistrates' Court (photo by Glenn Tucker)

Frankie died from the injuries sustained in the attack, which happened on December 29 last year. Dora was put to sleep a couple of days later.

Susan Mulligan, representing Williams, who appeared for sentencing yesterday, told the court that someone had unlocked Williams’ gate on the date of the attack.

“He began taking care of Dora when her former owner, a friend of his, was in the hospital,” she told the court. “After her former owner died, he had decided to keep Dora.”

She said Williams’ level of culpability for the crime was very low and told the court that he did not receive a pension or steady source of income and therefore could not pay any substantial amount of damages. Ms Mulligan requested that Williams be given a conditional discharge.

Crown counsel Nicole Smith said that Williams had expressed little to no remorse when he first appeared and pleaded guilty.

She added that one pitbull-related offence occurred every other week in Bermuda.

“A conditional discharge would set a bad precedent for future cases of a similar nature,” Ms Smith said.

Senior magistrate Maxanne Anderson sentenced Mr Williams to a two-year conditional discharge but ordered him to pay Mr Kapur $7,430 in damages; the combined cost of a new dog and the veterinary bill.