Super-intelligent dog could be put down after biting police officer's bottom

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A self-styled canine psychologist’s six-stone Romanian sheepdog named Shroom is at risk of being put down after biting a policeman on the bottom. 

Said to understand ‘more than 300 commands in Latin’, Shroom sunk her jaws into Wiltshire Police officer Michael Obern’s bum, leaving his boxers in tatters.

CCTV footage, captured outside a Travelodge in Devizes, Wiltshire, shows the officer patting the pup owned by Gemma Sankey, 51, in October 2021.

The sizable sheepdog had been let out of a police van by her owner who told her: ‘Nice and relaxed, good girl, no, we can make some friends.’

Obern, who knew Sankey from his time as a community support officer, had been helping her move some items into the hotel.

But their talk about how difficult Obern’s own cockapoo can be difficult on a lead was cut short when Shroom leapt up and bit the man’s bottom.

Obern can be seen screaming out in agony as Sankey says: ‘I’m so sorry, Shroom, what did you do that for? Bad girl.

‘Now you’re going to get in serious trouble, aren’t you? I don’t know what to do because I can get prosecuted now.’

Sankey has since been convicted of two counts of failing to control a dangerous animal following a trial at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard how Shroom had attacked her owner’s daughter, Michelle Vincent, at a glamping site in July 2021.

Obern had been warned by Sankey in a previous meeting not to wear high-vis clothing as the canine would ‘react’ to this.

So he threw on a black police vest instead, yet Shroom still jumped him.

Obern said: ‘I managed to pet her but she then bit my left buttock. It ripped my trousers, ripped my boxer shorts and broke the skin.

‘The dog was on a lead but it was quite a long one. I then told Ms Sankey to take the dog inside.

‘I had a bruise for a week, but I had been bitten by a human in another incident a few months before so I’d already had a tetanus injection.’

Sankey denied both offences. Claiming she is an expert in animal behaviour of 35 years, Sankey said she owned ‘four dogs and 15 horses’ and knows ‘canine aggression’ when she sees it:

‘When Shroom gets terribly excited she jumps up occasionally,’ she told the court.

‘She knows over 300 commands in Latin, so you could say she’s very long in the tooth.

‘The picture of Mrs Vincent’s injury looks like a “spotty bum”, not like a dog bite.

‘PC Obern gave Shroom a slap hit and then he turned away. His injuries were not caused by a bite from Shroom – a Chihuahua would have made more bite marks.’

After half an hour of deliberation, Magistrates found Sankey guilty of both counts and will be sentenced at a later date.

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