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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Sir A. Conan Doyle and His Dog

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Roy's Character Vindicated is an article published in Crowborough Weekly on 26 april 1913 and reprinted in the The New-York Times on 4 may 1913 as "Sherlock Holmes Wins".

The article is about Conan Doyle's defence against the accusations on his collie dog, Roy, about killing a sheep.



Editions



Sir A. Conan Doyle and His Dog (Manchester Courier)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle figured in an amusing case at the March Cross Sessions yesterday, when he was summoned for keeping a collie dog that had killed and worried sheep.

Mr. Arthur Hale, a farmer, the prosecutor, said he had seen the dog at Sir Arthur's house, where he had an interview with Sir Arthur on the matter.

Sir Arthur, cross-examining: My suggestion to you was that in order to prove which dog it was you should fire at it from a distance of about thirty or forty yards into the tail part, so that we should see a Mark if it proved to be my dog ? — Yes.

From your experience as a farmer, is it not strange for a collie dog to take to annoying sheep at this age? — Yes, but when they do they stick to it.

You are aware that my dog has a good many sons and daughters in the village? — Yes.

You are aware that within 200 or 300 yards of my house there is a fold of sheep at Mr. St. Quentin's? — Yes.

Does it not strike you as being strange that my dog should pass this fold of sheep and go to a farm another mile on to worry sheep? — I don't know.

John Hornby, a farm boy, said that, he got close to the dog while it was running among the sheep, and he was sure from marks on its face that it was the defendant's dog.

Sir Arthur: How near did you get, my boy ? — About ten yards.

It was running away as you approached? — Yes.

The point is that it is very difficult to see a patch on a dog's nose if it is running away from you. You have seen my dog since and know that it has a white spot on its nose? — Yes.

Have you seen the other collie dogs in the village? — No.

Then it is impossible for you to say for certain that mine was the dog worrying the sheep.

Sir Arthur, addressing the Bench, said his dog was physically incapable of annoying sheep. It had some disease in the jaw which he was told was a common defect in collies, and it could not eat even a crust. They had to feed it on the softest of food. The dog had been among sheep in a meadow near his home and had never annoyed them.

"The police, I think in a most unwarranted way," said Sir Arthur, "suggested that I should destroy the dog. That suggestion, I understand, came from the chief constable direct at a time when it was ever proved that the dog had touched a sheep." The dog was of the gentlest type. It was a valuable and beautiful collie and the playfellow of his children.

Mr. Hubert Victor Dale, a veterinary surgeon, said the dog was suffering from faulty conformation of the jawbones. It had never been able to eat anything hard, and it would be impossible for it to gnaw anything. The dog was physically incapable of killing a sheep.

The Chairman (Mr. H. E. Sheppard) said that after the evidence the Bench would not proceed with the case. They were satisfied it was a case of mistaken identity on the part of the complainant, and the case would be dismissed.


Sherlock Holmes Wins (The New York Times)

Sir A. Conan Doyle Conducts a Police Court Case Triumphantly.

LONDON. April 23. — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle yesterday had an opportunity of making practical use of some of the theories of Sherlock Holmes, with a triumphant result. Sir Arthur had been summoned at the Mark Cross Police Court, Tunbridge Wells, because, it was alleged, his collie dog had killed some sheep. He conducted his own case.

The prosecutor, Arthur Hale, a farmer, said he had seen the dog at Sir Arthur's house, where he had an interview with Sir Arthur on the matter.

"You are aware that within 200 or 300 yards of my house there is a fold of sheep?" asked Sir Arthur.

"Yes." replied the farmer.

"Does it not strike you as being strange that my dog should pass this fold of sheep and go to a farm another mile on to worry sheep?"

"I don't know."

John Harnby, a farm boy, said he got close to the dog while it was running among the sheep, and he was sure from marks on its face that It was the defendant's dog.

Sir Arthur — How near did you get, my boy? About ten yards.

It was running away as you approached? Yes.

The point is that it is very difficult to see a patch on a dog's nose if it is running away from you. You have seen my dog since and know that it has a white spot on its nose? Yes.

Have you seen the other collie dogs in the village? No.

Then it is impossible for you to say for certain that mine was the dog worrying the sheep.

Sir Arthur told the Bench that his dog was physically incapable of annoying sheep, and was of the gentlest type. It was a valuable and beautiful collie, and the playfellow of his children.

Hubert Victor Dae. a veterinary surgeon, said the dog was suffering from faulty conformation of the jawbones, and was incapable of killing a sheep.

Satisfied that it was a case of mistaken identity, the magistrates dismissed the case.






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