Lady: Killer pooch? Photo: Düsseldorf courts
Presented with the facts of the case by the plaintiff and the defendent, the judge could not decide if Lady, a mixed-breed therapy dog, was responsible for the death of 12 members of the plaintiff's herd.
In 2011, the dog's owner's granddaughter was walking Lady without a leash. At the sight of the sheep, the pooch launched herself into the middle of the herd, unable to get out of the wooly crowd. After much barking, Lady returned to her walker.
The farmer claims that following the incident, a number of his sheep died, including two stillborn lambs. A vet said that it appeared the animals died from stress.
The court was to decide whether €2,900 in damages were warranted.
Lady's owners maintain that their dog lives up to her name. A witness pointed the finger of blame at another canine who was also there at the time. The owner also maintains that Lady is well trained through her therapy dog certification.
“Lady is a therapy dog at a seniors' residence, and there have been no deaths reported there,” the family's lawyer told the courts.
Bild reported that further doubt was cast on the shepherd's claim when it came to light that he had accused other dog owners of the same thing, asking for a “six figure number”, the defense lawyer said.
The dog owner, who is a professional dog trainer, said that if the sheep died from stress, there must have been another cause.
The young woman walking the dog also told the judge that the shepherd used his metal walking stick to try and hit Lady, often striking the sheep instead.
As the judge could not reach a decision with what was presented to him, he ordered eyewitness testimony be given at a further date yet to be determined.