Owner Flees as Pack of 60 Dogs Terrorise Neighbourhood
Tracey Thier, 49, has fled the country after breaching the terms of an ASBO and refusing to pay her fine.
Thier owned the £1.1million Grade II listed mansion, Beltwood House in Sydenham Hill, Dulwich, South London, which she bought in 2001.
She was said to lead the lifestyle of a “lady of the manor”, owning up to 60 dogs, 20 horses and several peacocks. Her pack of dogs was allowed to roam the 3.5 acre site and the surrounding neighbourhood causing havoc. The dogs, mainly Alsatians , escaped on to roads and even the railway lines causing accidents and rail delays.
As well as causing disruption to transport systems the dogs also attacked passers-by and the neighbours. One victim, who was said to be a former friend and business associate of Ms Thier’s, was so badly savaged that they required plastic surgery to their arms and legs. Another man was jogging past when some of the dogs jumped out, surrounded and attacked him resulting in the victim requiring emergency surgery. Six people were injured by the pack in a 3month period. Police received a further 48 complaints from people who had been chased by the dogs. Last year the RSPCA began an investigation over animal neglect.
The animals kept the neighbourhood awake at night as the horses whinnied for food and the dogs howled. One neighbour described the trials and terror of living near this chaos: “It was an ongoing saga which resulted in people getting horrific injuries, several children being chased and one man having a nervous breakdown and leaving the area”. A council spokesman said: “There were numerous attacks on members of the public, which resulted in some horrific injuries.”
In 2007 Thier, who is American, was given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, banned from keeping any animals in England or Wales and ordered to hand over her pets. She also had to pay fines of £50,000 to Southwark Council. However, Ms Thier refused to pay the costs and breached the terms of her ASBO in January 2008 by keeping 5 or more dogs at her property in Lambeth.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home welcomed the ASBO order as they had cared for Ms Thier’s straying dogs over 30 times in a 12month period. The animals were neglected: the horses were reported as being “thin and hungry-looking”; some had even been attacked by the dogs. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have removed dozens of sick and neglected dogs while the International League for the Protection of Horses is caring for the horses. Unfortunately, two Alsatians and a crossbreed had to be destroyed.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has been working in partnership with Southwark Council and Metropolitan Police to “successfully resolve the case”. Councillor Paul Kyriacou, who is an executive member for community safety, said: “This is a really appalling case and one of the worst situations of animal abuse I’ve heard of since becoming a councillor. We will do everything in our powers to ensure this woman is brought to justice. We are pleased that the dogs and horses will now be safe and given proper care and attention by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the International League for the Protection of Horses”. In February 2009 Southwark Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and the police’s Safer Neighbourhoods Team received the Borough Commander’s Award for tackling severe animal nuisance as a result of this case.
In January Ms Their received an order for bankruptcy and has now been made bankrupt in her absence in order to pay for her unpaid fines. She has fled Britain before she could be sentenced and police have issued a warrant for her arrest while council officers are seeking to have her mansion repossessed.
If you have suffered from animal nuisance similar to the events described above, such as being threatened by aggressive dogs, having animals trespassing on your land or causing problems to traffic, animals barking persistently or have even been attacked then you should report it to your local dog warden or to your local council. You may be eligible for compensation towards any injuries and medical costs that you may have suffered or towards damage inflicted on your property. To find out if you have a case contact Macks Solicitors, who will be happy to give you free expert advice on making a compensation claim for the injuries and losses caused by the attack.