Sign In

Dog-walking service

April 8, 2020

Heather Hiram, of the Safe and Sound Hound dog-walking service in Edinburgh, was furious after a video was posted by Alana Mullen, who was working for Pilrig Paws.

A professional dog walker has been awarded £3,000 in damages from a business rival who accused her on social media of mistreating the animals.

Heather Hiram, 41, who runs the Safe and Sound Hound dog-walking service in Edinburgh, was furious after a video was posted by Alana Mullen, who was working for Pilrig Paws. The pair did not know each other but walked pets in the capital’s Pilrig Park. The video appeared to show dogs inside a van panting as temperatures outside reached 20C.

Ms Mullen, 30, also claimed to have “caught and confronted” the other dog walker, accusing her of “not being able to control” the pets. Former solicitor Heather insisted her vehicle had air conditioning, cooling mats and open windows and she demanded the video be removed but that request was ignored.

The clips, posted in June 2018, showed Mullen and a friend confronting Heather and were shared more than 1500 times, racking up 37,000 views and attracting dozens of critical comments.

Heather launched a defamation action for £5000 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, saying that she had been deliberately targeted and the video led to a deterioration in her business by losing clients.

She said she had spent £4000 transforming her van and it was the same system used by the SSPCA.

Mullen claimed the statements in the video were true but Sheriff Adrian Cottam ordered her to hand over £3000 and make a public apology.

“Clearly the reputation of a dog walker would be lowered in the opinion of any right-minded person reading it.

“In fact, the comments posted showed the feeling of repulsion and rage against the pursuer.

“The main issue was the risk posed to the dogs. Here, I preferred the evidence of the pursuer with regard to the modifications made and the fact the adaptations took away the usual risk of dogs in hot cars.

“To post comments implying the risk of the temperature and comments and video relating to the harm that could be caused is clearly defamatory if in fact the dogs had not been left in a situation where such risk arose.

“I am therefore satisfied that the pursuer has successfully pled her case and I find in her favour.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Izzy The Therapy Dog

    There is something different strolling the halls of schools in Moody this year and she’s soft, gentle and loves kids. Her name is Izzy and she is a two-year-old Goldendoodle, turned therapy dog. Her owner, Sgt. Ron Richardson, with the Moody Police Department, saw a video of a therapy dog being used in Cullman County […]

    Read more

    Animal Advocate

    Penny, a spaniel mix who works as a canine advocate for domestic violence victims through Crisis Center North, is nearing retirement. She was adopted from Action for Animals in Derry Township and attends court dates with victims to provide emotional support. But before she retires, she has one more job. She needs to train an […]

    Read more

    Dog Chow Campaign

    In honor of National Service Dog Awareness Month, Purina Dog Chow is launching its third annual “Service Dog Salute” campaign. A service dog can be life-changing in helping veterans with PTSD and other post-combat challenges. Unfortunately, due to the cost and time it takes to train a service dog, less than 1% of veterans in […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog In School

    A Derry primary school this week welcomed a new member of staff – its very own therapy dog. Joy will be used to provide comfort and reassurance to pupils at St Oliver Plunkett Primary School after studies have shown that therapy dogs have a positive impact on children’s mood and behaviour. St Oliver Plunkett is […]

    Read more

    Polices Therapy Dog

    The Great Barrington police department is holding a swearing in ceremony Friday for its new therapy dog, Officer Beko. Beko is a 16-week old black lab and works with Officer Kris Balestro. Beko’s training, certification and care are funded by donations from the local community. Officer Beko is the first therapy dog to join a […]

    Read more

    BarkBox Launching Essentials

    If your dog loves to monitor your work when you’re cooking, generally gets underfoot the entire time and sees “taste tester” as their official title, these new dog toys may be essential in your kitchen. Starting Oct. 1, Bed, Bath & Beyond is introducing a new line, specifically tailored to your dog’s kitchen needs. In […]

    Read more