United Kingdom

Woman in charge of dog that attacked Freddie the seal revealed as top lawyer

Top lawyer Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC, 49, was seen carrying the dog after the attack (Picture: Duncan Phillips)

The woman in charge of a dog that mauled a seal by the River Thames has been identified as a top lawyer, reports say. 

Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC, 49, was seen trying to pull the brown dog away from the seal, affectionately called Freddie Mercury, and was later pictured carrying it on the banks of the river.  

Freddie suffered a fractured flipper and a dislocated joint in the attack and was put to sleep by vets, who said ‘the only ethical and fair option we have is to end his suffering’. 

Ms Sabben-Clare was reportedly referred to the RSPCA after contacting the police, and was told no offence had been committed, according to Mail Online. 

The leading silk, who has been described as an ‘incredibly bright’ specialist in commercial law, reportedly lives in a £5.8 million house near Hammersmith Bridge, where the incident took place. 

There have been calls for the owner of the dog to face a fine over the horrific attack.  

Dog owners can be fined up to £1,000 if their animal chases or attacks farm animals.

Similar fines apply to certain protected wild animals, which can rise to £2,500 if the offence was found to be deliberate.  

Distressing pictures showed the brown dog attacking the seal on the banks of the River Thames (Picture: Duncan Phillips)

South Essex Wildlife Hospital, where Freddie was taken after the attack, said ‘sadly’ he was not the only seal it had treated, adding: ‘Please folks do not go near seals and always, always, keep dogs on leads and under control.’ 

Josh Fraser tweeted: ‘RIP #freddietheseal people who own dogs that attack people/wildlife should be banned from owning pets for life, first a deer in Richmond park, now a poor seal in Hammersmith, when will it stop? When a child dies? Will they just fine the owner and move on? This needs to be fixed.’ 

Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s former director of communications, wrote: ‘So sad to hear that the beautiful seal that took up residence near Hammersmith Bridge had to be put down after being savaged by a dog. There were signs up asking dog walkers to keep them on leads.’  

Earlier this year, a man was fined £600 for breaching Royal Parks Regulations after an out-of-control dog fatally attacked a deer in Richmond Park. 

Common seals, also known as harbour seals, and grey seals are known to be spotted in the Thames, but it is rare for them to return to the same spot. 

Passers-by, including Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC, quickly rushed to the seal’s aid (Picture: Duncan Phillips)

The Zoological Society of London’s Thames Marine Mammal Survey has reported 117 sightings of seals in or by the river this year. 

Freelance photographer Broni Lloyd-Edwards took some adorable snaps of the seal earlier this month. 

At the time, Broni told Metro.co.uk: ‘We are so lucky to have these beautiful animals in our river, it’s magical. 

‘The RSPCA was called and they said it looked healthy, but it’s quite unusual that it’s been in the same spot all week, so everyone is just keeping an eye out.  

‘It seemed very calm, and every now and again it went for a dip and came back to its resting place.  

‘I’ve seen many seals in the Thames, and every time it feels like a huge treat… I know rowers and paddle boarders have had seals climbing aboard before.’ 

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