Man's dog 'did not attack park warden'
A man who faced trial for having an "out of control dog" has been cleared of the charges.
John Hirst, 57, of Beverley Road, west Hull, was arrested after a park warden in Pearson Park accused him of provoking his golden retriever, named Rocky, to attack him.
John Hirst and Rocky
Mr Hirst was due to stand trial at Hull Crown Court on Monday after denying charges of common assault and having a dog which is dangerously out of control.
However, Judge Roger Thorn QC returned verdicts of not guilty in the case after the prosecution offered no evidence.
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Mr Hirst said he was pleased he had won the case, as losing it could have resulted in Rocky being put down.
He said: "They had asked for a destruction order, but all the evidence suggested he wasn't dangerous.
"He is a loyal friend and companion. There was no way I was going to let them put a dog down who wasn't dangerous."
The charges related to an incident on January 2 this year.
Mr Hirst said he was walking Rocky in the park, which he does three times every day.
He said the warden had started shouting at Mr Hirst because he had let Rocky off his lead, and the dog then started to bark.
"The warden started shouting at him and waving his litter picker about and the dog started barking at him," said Mr Hirst.
"He then got on his radio and called for backup, saying he was being attacked."
Rocky had to undergo an expert assessment to see whether he was dangerous as part of the case.
Guy Richardson, a dog behaviourist with 32 years' experience, based at West Lancashire Canine Centre in Liverpool, told the Mail: "Mr Hirst was brought to court unfairly as his dog is not a dangerous dog at all."
Following his acquittal Mr Hirst was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months.
Mr Hirst, a former prisoner, fought a battle from behind bars that allowed prisoners the right to vote.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1980 after he admitted the manslaughter of his landlady.
In 2005, his campaign saw the European Court of Human Rights rule a blanket ban on voting breached prisoners' human rights.
Hull City Council declined to comment on the case.