Princess Anne’s Dog Attacks Two Children
The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, became the first member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offense as she pleaded guilty to a charge under the dangerous dogs’ act. One of her dogs, a three-year-old English bull terrier called Dotty, bit two children as they walked in Windsor Great Park on April 2002. Under the name Anne Elizabeth Alice Laurence, and pitted against Regina (her mother), the princess was charged with her husband, Commodore Tim Laurence, being in charge of a dog that was dangerously out of control in a public place. Princess Anne, was ordered to pay a £500 fine and provide an additional £500 in compensation to the families of two children who were bit by her unruly English bull terrier, Dotty. The boys, aged 12 and 7, were both taken to a hospital, but neither needed stitches. The incident gave Anne the notorious honor of being the first senior member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offense.
The court heard from dog psychologist Roger Mugford that the three-year-old should not be put down. Dr. Mugford, who also treated some of the Queen’s corgis after they bit her, said Dotty was “an utterly placid, playful dog”. The district judge, Penelope Hewitt, spared Dotty’s life but said it must undergo training and be kept on a lead in all public places. She also warned the princess that her dog would be destroyed if there were any further incidents. Passing sentence, she said the children did not suffer considerably from the incident but she regretted that it had put them off dogs. “It was a very, very unfortunate episode and I can only hope that the children, as time goes by, will become more amenable to dogs,” she said, explaining that “dogs enhance family life considerably”. The charges against Commodore Laurence were dropped when the princess admitted the offense.