Dempsey (ca. 1986 - 2003) was a female American Pit Bull Terrier who was the subject of a high-profile challenge to the British Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. She was owned by Dianne Fanneran and lived in London.
Two passing police officers noted the unmuzzled dog, and charged the caretaker under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Three months later, at Ealing Magistrates' Court, Dempsey was ordered to be euthanised for failing to be muzzled in a public place.
Appeals took three years before the Crown Court, the High Court and the House of Lords, during which time the media covered the story, leading activist Brigitte Bardot offered the dog sanctuary at her home in France, to avoid British law.
The case was dismissed in November 1995 on a legal technicality, as it emerged that Dempsey's owner, not involved in the original incident, was unaware the court hearing was taking place. This legal loophole meant the case was thrown out.
Dempsey was reprieved, and died at the age of 17 in 2003.
- R v Cichon  Crim LR 918, DC