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The UK lawyer whose dog attacked beloved seal Freddie Mercury — who then had to be put down due to his injuries — has apologized over the tragedy and said she was left “heartbroken” by his death.
Oxford-educated commercial lawyer Rebecca Sabben-Clare told the Evening Standard that she wished to “apologize unreservedly” for the “terrible accident” in London on Sunday.
The high-flying legal eagle also said she wished she had kept her pooch on a leash.
The 10-month-old seal could not be saved after it was mauled by Sabben-Clare’s dog near the Hammersmith Bridge on the Thames. It is unclear what breed the dog is.
Horrific images captured Freddie being attacked as the woman and four passers-by tried to pry her dog’s jaws off the marine mammal, which suffered a broken bone, dislocated flipper and joint, as well as ligament and nerve damage.
Freddie was ultimately euthanized, prompting an outpouring of grief and condemnation aimed at the lawyer.
“I am heartbroken by this terrible accident,” Sabben-Clare told the Standard.
“As an animal lover, I fully understand the dismay that has been expressed. I apologize unreservedly for what happened. In hindsight, I wish, of course, that the dog had been on a lead but at the time that did not seem necessary,” she said.
“I am hugely grateful to all those who helped at the scene. They were heroic. I left for my own safety and that of my dog, believing that there was nothing that I could do to help as the seal was being looked after by a vet and help had been called. I offered my contact details to the vet before leaving,” the embattled woman added.
Sabben-Clare — who lives in an $8 million home with her husband – said she had reached out to authorities after leaving the gruesome scene.
”Early yesterday morning I contacted the police to speak to them about the incident and was directed to the RSPCA,” she said.
“The RSPCA interviewed me and confirmed that they were happy that no offense had been committed. I tried to contact the police again repeatedly yesterday afternoon, in response to a statement from them that they wished to identify me and speak to me. They have still not been in contact,” Sabben-Clare continued.
“I have made a donation to the Wildlife Hospital which treated the seal. What wonderful work it does,” she added.
The law does not require dogs to be leashed in open spaces, but it is illegal for them to be “dangerously out of control” anywhere, according to the Standard, which cited possible penalties of up to six months in the slammer.
The RSCPA said it can only investigate offenses under the Animal Welfare Act, which involves cruelty to animals, The Sun reported.
“We are deeply saddened by what happened to Freddie and this highlights why it is important to keep dogs on leads around wild animals,” the animal welfare agency said.
“Dog attacks on animals would become an animal welfare offense if it was done deliberately. If no offenses have been committed under the Animal Welfare Act we are unable to take incidents further,” it said, adding that incidents involving out-of-control dogs are investigated by police.
The Met Police said they would not be launching an investigation into the tragedy.
“Following the investigation there will be no further criminal investigation or action taken by police in regards to this matter. The owner of the dog has been informed,” it said, The Sun reported.
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