It must have been most distressing for both Teresa Walton and Karen Creasey to have seen the small dog killed (Lincolnshire Free Press, February 5).
Mrs Creasey is quite mistaken, however, to say: “It’s private property. She shouldn’t have been there”.
Many people have a right to visit her house, such as postmen, delivery drivers, meter readers and anyone else making legitimate enquiries. These people are all owed a duty of care. A duty of care is also owed to trespassers, albeit at a lower level.
A particular level of care is owed to children even if they are trespassing. Teresa Walton was clearly a lawful visitor.
The sign on the gate saying that dogs are running free is not effective and is indeed unlawful. If the guard dogs are running free then they must be securely fenced in and the gate locked.
Mrs Creasey goes on to say that the dogs were only doing their job, but she is again mistaken. The days of ferocious guard dogs running free have, or should have, long gone.
Mrs Creasey is liable to prosecution under criminal law and, under civil law, it seems that Teresa could make a claim for the loss of her dog and for her own injuries. It is easy to make such a claim online.
The two dogs should be destroyed.
Retired law lecturer