The UK attorney whose dog attacked a lovable seal the locals called Freddie Mercury has issued an apology and emphasized that she was “heartbroken” by the seal’s passing. Following the weekend attack, the seal was put down due to its injuries.
Rebecca Sabben-Clare, an Oxford-educated commercial attorney, expressed to the Evening Standard that she wanted to “apologize unreservedly” for the “terrible accident” in London last Sunday.
The lawyer also added that she should have kept her dog on a leash the day of the tragedy.
There was nothing vets could do for the 10-month-old seal after it was mangled by Sabben-Clare’s dog outside of Hammersmith Bridge on the River Thames. The dog’s breed has not yet been reported.
Gruesome images showed Freddie being mauled as the owner and four onlookers attempted to rip her dog off of the marine mammal, who sustained a broken bone, dislocated flipper and joint, in addition to ligament and nerve damage.
In the end, Freddie was put to sleep, sparking an onslaught of anguish and blame targeted at Sabben-Clare.
“I am heartbroken by this terrible accident,” Sabben-Clare said to the Standard.
“As an animal lover, I fully understand the dismay that has been expressed. I apologize unreservedly for what happened. In hindsight, I wish, of course, that the dog had been on a lead but at the time that did not seem necessary,” she said.
“I am hugely grateful to all those who helped at the scene. They were heroic. I left for my own safety and that of my dog, believing that there was nothing that I could do to help as the seal was being looked after by a vet and help had been called. I offered my contact details to the vet before leaving,” the distressed lawyer continued.
Sabben-Clare, who owns an $8 million house where she lives with her husband, said she reported the incident to authorities after leaving the harrowing spectacle.
”Early yesterday morning I contacted the police to speak to them about the incident and was directed to the RSPCA,” she explained.
“The RSPCA interviewed me and confirmed that they were happy that no offense had been committed. I tried to contact the police again repeatedly yesterday afternoon, in response to a statement from them that they wished to identify me and speak to me. They have still not been in contact,” Sabben-Clare added.
“I have made a donation to the Wildlife Hospital which treated the seal. What wonderful work it does,” she continued.
The law does not state that dogs need to be on leashes in open spaces, but it is prohibited if the animal is “dangerously out of control” in public, the Standard reports, which pointed out the possibility of penalties including up to six months behind bars.
The RSCPA confirmed it can only examine crimes under the Animal Welfare Act, which consists of cruelty to animals, according to The Sun.
“We are deeply saddened by what happened to Freddie and this highlights why it is important to keep dogs on leads around wild animals,” the animal welfare agency stated.
“Dog attacks on animals would become an animal welfare offense if it was done deliberately. If no offenses have been committed under the Animal Welfare Act we are unable to take incidents further,” they explained, noting that issues involving out-of-control dogs are the jurisdiction of police.
The Met Police confirmed they would not be conducting an investigation into the death of Freddie Mercury.
“Following the investigation there will be no further criminal investigation or action taken by police in regards to this matter. The owner of the dog has been informed,” they stated, according to The Sun.