The Penwith Papers

Hounding the Wrong Dog

It is March, 1979 – and a woman from the Helston area is having a problem with her dog, a bench of magistrates, and the Sussex police.

Cut to Haywards Heath. Rewind to 1977. A magistrates’ order states that an Alsatian - known to us as Brandy, and its owner for our purposes as Mrs W - is dangerous and should be destroyed. Not only this – a fine will be levied if compliance is not prompt.

So - back to Helston, 1979. Compliance has not been prompt, and the outstanding fine now stands at £300. Meanwhile, Mrs W has arrived in West Cornwall and set up home. Shortly after her arrival, an Alsatian has come to join her. Mrs W has introduced the dog as Drover. And now, Mrs W’s whereabouts have come to the attention of the Sussex police, who are making enquiries.

“They think it is Brandy”, Mrs W tells the local news reporter. “I can see their problem”, she continues - “they do look remarkably alike”- before pointing out a few “darkish patches” on Drover’s back. She regrets that she is unable to convince the magistrates that Brandy is a stranger to Grecian 2000 (or perhaps Grecian 1980), and that Drover and Brandy are wholly unrelated animals.

So what has become of Brandy? Mrs W is a little unsure. She gave him away to a couple she met while taking the dog for a walk. No, she has no idea who the couple were. Nor, for that matter, can she trace the person who supplied her with Drover shortly afterwards.

“I moved to Cornwall because I did not think there would be any trouble here” she confides, and perhaps we may imagine a brief pause before she adds: “and anyway, this is a totally different dog”.


Cornishman 15th March 1979

The Penwith Papers:

Penwith Local History Group
The Penwith Papers:

Growing Up in West Cornwall. A Publication by the Penwith Local History Group

"Growing Up in West Cornwall"

Edited by
Sally Corbet

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