A dog who faced death is ready to start a new life after Police Scotland dropped the case to destroy him.
Rocco was just hours away from being put to sleep earlier this year but was given a stay of execution when lawyers managed to secure a delay.
It is understood the pet was seized from his owner by police after being involved in an incident in which another dog died in January 2020.
He has remained at a kennels in Dundee ever since and while there, his owner died.
Five-year-old Rocco was to be put down as it was believed he was a pit bull – one of four breeds banned in the UK.
Now, it has been agreed he does not meet the criteria for a pit bull type and will not be destroyed.
Under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, pit bull terriers cannot be transferred to new owners even if they are deemed to pose no threat.
Animal welfare charity Save Our Seized Dogs intervened and began to fight for Rocco.
Director of the charity, Jayne Dendle, said Rocco “wouldn’t have been here” if it wasn’t for the work of solicitors J Myles & Co in Dundee.
Ms Dendle said: “Wallace Vets in Broughty Ferry brought the case to our attention after they assessed Rocco and said how friendly he was.
“The kennels had also advised how friendly Rocco has been over this time.
“I still remember the frantic calls trying to find a solicitors to take on the case before an interdict went in to stop Rocco being destroyed.
“If that hadn’t have happened he wouldn’t have been here today – it’s as simple as that.
“Police asked us to postpone the interim interdict, as they were no longer seeking his destruction.
“They then decided that although they still classed him as pit bull dog they would allow the case to go the Sheriff Court.
“An application was put forward for Rocco to go on the index of exempts dogs with Defra Department for Environment & Rural Affairs (Defra) under a civil charge.”
But Save Our Seized Dogs did not believe Rocco met the criteria of a pit bull type.
Campaigners sent an independent assessor to look at the dog and he met only 37% of the criteria to be classed as a pit bull. Dogs which fall into this category meet around 60 to 66% of the criteria.
Ms Dendle added: “To give that some context, a short haired Labrador would have scored 37%.
“It was deemed that Rocco was a crossbreed of unknown origins.
“The police based on our assessment sent the SSPCA back out to reassess and the police have now dropped the entire case, it’s great news.”
‘His forever home’
After Rocco’s 18-month period in kennels, it is hoped the pooch will soon find a new home.
She added: “Although Rocco has been in the best of care we are looking to find him a five star home.
“He is going to be neutered and once he has healed he’ll be off to rescue, to hopefully find his forever home to live out the rest of his years.”
‘No such thing as a dangerous breed’
Scottish SPCA superintendent Mike Flynn said he believes dogs should never be put down based on breed alone.
He added: “We can confirm we assisted Police Scotland in this investigation.
“The Dangerous Dogs Act has been in force for 30 years and the Scottish SPCA has been opposed to it since day one.
“There is no such thing as a dangerous breed, and dogs should not be destroyed based on breed.
“In our experience, when a dog has behaved in a dangerous way it is usually due to a failure on the part of the owner.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Following further examination of the dog, all parties have now reached a suitable settlement in relation to this matter and legal proceedings have concluded.”