James McNally wins police dog claim after the animal was subsequently shot dead on duty after attacking his handler
James, known in the media simply as ‘The Dog Bite Solicitor’, is making headlines yet again after winning a police dog claim following a subsequent attack on its own police handler. The attack was so fierce that the police dog had to be shot by officers.
According to a report in The Lancashire Post the police had been searching for a missing person when police dog Jax, a 7-year-old Malinois, mauled its handler. Armed officers couldn’t restrain the out-of-control dog. and therefore, shot it dead at the scene.
The newspaper confirmed that the same police dog had been involved in a previous incident in which one of James’ clients had suffered serious injury after being bitten by the dog.
James told the press that his client had been attacked without warning following a road accident. Jax failed to obey his handler’s commands to release her and caused serious injuries to her leg. She had to remain in hospital for five days and was left with permanent scars and psychological trauma.
James submitted a police dog claim for compensation, but the Force refused to accept that Jax had acted unreasonably or that his handler had lost control of him. They alleged that the woman was responsible for what had happened and blamed her for covering the police dog’s nose with her hand in an attempt to stop him attacking her.
James therefore commenced court proceedings. The police had been defending the claim, but within hours of Jax being shot they suddenly changed their approach and accepted a settlement offer that James had previously made.
“The tragic news of the shooting of Police Dog Jax by Lancashire Police shocked everyone, but none more so than my client,” James told the Post. “She was a passenger in a car being driven by her boyfriend which struck a pylon late at night. They were making their way across a field to a friend’s house to get help when the police arrived and Jax was ‘deployed’ off lead. The dog attacked her when she was completely still and refused to obey repeated commands to release her.”
Although James’ client was never charged with any crime, the police did prosecute her boyfriend for “causing unnecessary suffering to an animal” following his attempts to force the dog to let go of his girlfriend. The prosecution failed and the man was acquitted.
James explained that in preparing the legal case he had viewed Jax’s bite history and training records. He also obtained input from a former police dog trainer who acts as an expert witness in court cases. This evidence convinced James that there was a sufficiently strong case to warrant a police dog claim being made.
The police maintained their denial right up until the day Jax was shot. When James heard the news, he contacted the police for confirmation that it was the same dog. Within hours of doing so he received an email from the police accepting the offer to settle that he’d made several weeks earlier.
James told the Lancashire Post:
“It was the outcome my client deserved but not in the way that any one of us would have wanted.
“I suspect there’s an awful lot of bad behaviour you can excuse when you’ve spent hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds on creating your police dog. But the injuries caused by police dogs are horrific. Alsatians, German Shepherds, Malinois are all big powerful dogs with big powerful jaws.
“There seems to be a view that the end justifies the means. That if you chose to run (or in the case of my client, sit absolutely still) you deserve everything you get. But when I’m looking at a photo of a woman with her calf muscle missing, I do wonder.”