A Tory MP was fined after his puppy caused a rush while chasing a herd of 200 deer in London’s Richmond Park.
Danny Kruger, 46, who was the Prime Minister’s Political Secretary prior to his election as Devizes MP in Wiltshire’s 2019 general election, admitted losing control of 11-month-old Jack Russell, Pebble, while walking his family in March to have 20.
Kruger, David Cameron’s former speechwriter, appeared in the dock of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday. He was wearing a blue suit, white shirt and purple tie, and a black face mask.
He spoke to confirm his name, address, and date of birth before pleading guilty of inducing or allowing one animal to hunt or disturb another animal in a royal park.
Prosecutor Dominic Hockley said, “On March 20th of this year, Danny Kruger’s white Jack Russell dog, Pebble, was chasing a large herd of fallow deer.
“They say you only need a pebble to set off an avalanche. In this case it only took a pebble to start a rush. “
The court heard that Kruger was taking his wife and three children for a long walk in the busy park on the afternoon of March 20 when PC Samantha Riggs saw his dog running across the street towards a herd of about 200 fallow deer.
Mr Hockley said the deer, many of which were pregnant, remained in a “panic” state while PC Riggs called the owner, who was “nowhere to be seen at the time,” to get the dog under control.
Volunteer ranger Duncan MacCallum said he had asked Kruger to call his puppy back “which seemed to spur him to action,” the court heard.
In footage filmed by a member of the public, Donald Milton, and the police officer’s body-worn camera, Kruger can be heard repeatedly shouting “Pebble” before putting his dog on a leash.
Danny Kruger arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Victoria Jones / PA)
The MP, who lives in Hammersmith, west London, is said to have been “contrite and excused” after the incident, which lasted about 45 seconds, and told police, “I’m sorry, I had no idea, I have it not seen the deer. In any case, of course, he has to be on a leash. “
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Jae Carwardine, who defended, said Kruger’s “attention was temporarily diverted” because his youngest son, seven years old, was tired after walking for about two hours.
“This was a brief mistake while juggling his parenting responsibilities, understandable, but something Mr. Kruger deeply regrets,” she said.
“Of course he’ll be much more careful in the future.”
The attorney described Kruger as an “avid dog walker” while Pebble was described as a “very friendly, good-natured family pet who gets on well with other animals.”
“Mr. Kruger takes dog training and dog obedience seriously. He trained Pebble and he was effective in that workout, ”she said.
“Of course, he takes responsibility for his dog’s temporary loss of control.”
Deputy Chief Justice Tan Ikram fined Kruger £ 120 and told him to pay £ 575 in costs plus a £ 34 surcharge for a total of £ 719.
He said to Kruger, “The video really says it all, doesn’t it? You should have known better, especially in Richmond Park, where everyone knows there are wild deer.
“Your dog was out of control, it scared the deer and here you are on trial today.
“The deer were clearly frightened and frightened. It could have caused injuries, luckily it wasn’t. “
The 2,500 hectare park is London’s largest royal park and is home to around 300 red deer and 300 fallow deer.
The park has protected status and is a national nature reserve as well as London’s largest site of special scientific interest and a European special protection area.
Richmond Park manager Simon Richards said in a statement to the court that last year there were 36 incidents of dogs hunting deer over a four-month period, while about six of the animals are killed by dogs each year.
“Dogs that hunt deer cause great distress and often result in physical attacks on the deer,” he said.