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Yeovil man reunited with dog saved from death

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: October 26, 2012

  • Jon Smillie has been reunited with his pet dog Duke who faced destruction after he was confiscated by police earlier this year. Duke was returned to Mr Smillie after a court placed the pit bull terrier

  • Duke was deemed 'polite' and well trained by a dog behaviourist

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A Yeovil man who campaigned to save a dog from destruction after it was confiscated has been reunited with his pet.

Jon Smillie, 26, of Hathermead Gardens, was ordered to hand his dog, named Duke, to police in April over fears it was an illegal breed.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary made an application to South Somerset Magistrates in June to have the animal destroyed under the Dangerous Dogs Act after it was found to be a pit bull terrier.

However, Duke was returned to Mr Smillie after it was examined by a dog behaviourist.

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Mr Smillie said: “The behaviourist said he was nervous, but polite and well trained.

“The court said I could have Duke back as long as I stuck to the exempt pit bull conditions. I’m so happy now he’s come home, he’s settled back in really well.”

Duke was registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs (IED). It means he has to be microchipped, neutered, tattooed, insured against injuring third parties, kept in a secure place so he can not escape and kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in a public place.

Thousands of people supported a Facebook campaign to reunite Duke with his owner. Called Save Duke, the group on the social-networking site has attracted nearly 15,000 “likes” to date.

More than 16,400 people signed an online petition supporting the campaign.

Mr Smillie has always claimed Duke is not a danger to public safety. He believes dog legislation is outdated.

Mr Smillie said: “It’s the owner, not the dog that’s the problem.”

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