I pass on this affecting tale from my local paper, simply because it made me laugh rather a lot.
It's the story of an unfortunate misunderstanding in a local park that resulted in charges of attempted dog theft and being drunk in charge of a vehicle - charges of which The Defendant has, happily, now been acquitted. From his photograph, The Defendant does not look to be the sharpest knife in the box, but he has a nice turn of phrase. Here's his account of what happened.
One day, The Defendant was walking his dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier called Ebony, in a local park that, according to the newspaper, is 'a dognapping hot spot'. (I've walked there many times and never seen a dog being napped.) At some point, The Defendant received a call on his mobile from a friend who lived nearby, inviting him to drop in for a drink. He obliged, joining his friend for 'six or eight cans' of Fosters lager, characterised by The Defendant as 'glorified lemonade'.
On emerging from his friend's house, The Defendant decided that he was rather too full of 'glorified lemonade' to drive, so he returned to his car to pick up his mobile and walk home. Unfortunately, while he was making his way to the car, Ebony ran off. Arriving at his car, The Defendant spotted a bull terrier he thought was Ebony and beckoned it towards him. The dog bounded up to the car and leapt over The Defendant into the passenger seat, followed immediately by a Shih Tzu. The Defendant told the court: 'I'd seen two women with those two fluffy things, and the Staffy looked like Ebony. When it sat next to me in the car I realised it wasn't Ebony. Before I knew it, I had two women hammering on my window and screaming at me. I was trying to tell her that I had got the wrong dog, but she hit me with the chain end of the leash. Why and how a Shi Tzu ended up in my car, I have no idea.' This mystery had in fact been cleared up at an earlier hearing, when the Shi Tzu owner explained that her dog 'followed her Staffordshire bull terrier everywhere it went at all times'.
'On the face of it, this could seem quite funny,' said the defence lawyer, summing up. 'If dogs could talk, we could have saved a lot of time.' Indeed.