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

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more