Police defend seizure of pet dog as Black Country family 'left traumatised'

A family says they have been left traumatised after police seized their pet dog from their Black Country home.

Still from a video showing the moment Skye the dog was seized
Still from a video showing the moment Skye the dog was seized

Video of the moment the Staffordshire bull terrier-cross was taken by officers has been widely shared online and branded "disgusting" by some viewers.

Officers took pet dog Skye due to concerns that her owner had broken conditions regarding the keeping of a banned breed.

Chelsea Martin, who lives in West Bromwich, has owned her pet Skye for the last six years.

Skye has been seized by police multiple times, due to being considered a pitbull-type dog.

Pitbull terriers are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act but Staffordshire bull terriers are not.

WATCH video of the incident here:

Warning: contains distressing footage

Skye was first seized when she was seven months old, according to Jayne Dendle from Save our Seized Dogs.

The case was taken to court, where Skye was allowed to return home, providing she was kept under strict conditions, including being muzzled while walking outside of the home, being kept on a lead, neutered and having third-party insurance.

Skye was seized again by police in 2017 and held for six months, but charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Yesterday, officers were again called to Chelsea's home and according to Ms Dendle seized Skye due to her insurance not being kept up to date, which Chelsea disputes.

Staffordshire bull terrier-cross Skye

In the video a woman can be heard shouting "stop it" and "look at her leg" as Skye jumps around while officers lead her to a van on the end of two poles.

West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of concerns for a child's welfare and offered for Chelsea to take the dog to the van only for her to "lose control" of the animal.

Ms Dendle said: "Police alleged that the owner had not kept up to date with her insurance, Chelsea showed the police that the insurance was up to date, but police then said that Chelsea hadn't updated her address with DEFRA, which is not true and she forwarded this information to the police.

"The officers then said claimed that Skye has repeatedly escaped the property and been outside unattended, which is not true and Chelsea completely disputes. Skye has to be coaxed to leave home.

"Chelsea offered to walk Skye to the police van on her lead but was told this was not allowed, officers put the catch pole on and she was very scared. Chelsea calmed her down and took the pole, but then officers used another pole and dragged her out.

"There is no need to treat a dog like that.

Still from a video showing the moment Skye the dog was seized

"Skye is one of the most gentle dogs I have ever met, she has even won best in show and sleeps with Chelsea's little boy every night.

"It is so distressing to treat a proven gentle dog in this way and it is animal abuse.

"Chelsea and her children who were there at the time police came are absolutely traumatised by this.

"I have had so many messages from people saying they are disgusted by the footage and that it was not the correct way to use the catch pole.

"82 per cent of dogs seized have never hurt a person in their life. The focus needs to be on dogs that are aggressive, not just fort the way that they look."

Staffordshire bull terrier-cross Skye

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "We are aware of a video circulating of a dog being seized from a property in West Bromwich, Sandwell yesterday .

"We were called to the property following a report of a concern for the welfare of a child.

"On arrival it became clear the owner of the dog had not complied with the conditions previously set out by the court over the ownership of the dog as it is a banned breed.

"Officers explained the dog would need to be seized due to this and allowed the owner to try and take the dog to the police van, however the owner lost control and therefore officers had to take extra precautions to maintain the safety of the everyone in the property.

"The dog has been seized under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dog Act and will remain at secure kennels while the investigations continue.

"The Professional Standards Department are currently reviewing the footage and will act accordingly if any concerns."

Officers will be visiting the family again to discuss the next steps.

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