A dog who mauled Freddie Mercury the seal to death is a “friendly” pet named Toby, claim neighbours of the animal’s owner.
Freddie had to be put down by vets at a wildlife hospital after suffering a broken flipper in the attack on the bank of the River Thames that meant he could not be released back into the wild.
Owner Rebecca Sabben-Clare has apologised for the attack and said she was “heartbroken” at the news Freddie had to be put to slepp.
Now a neighbour of the 49-year-old lawyer has said Toby was a “sweet dog”.
They told the Mirror the pooch was “not a cross breed and not an aggressive dog.”
They added: “He has no history of this and is super sweet with our dogs.
“I don’t know the breed. But she (Rebecca) is a nice person. It could happen to anyone.”
Speaking to The Evening Standard, Ms Sabben-Clare said: “As an animal lover, I fully understand the dismay that has been expressed.
“I apologise 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.
“I am hugely grateful to all those who helped at the scene. They were heroic.”
The lawyer went on to say she left the scene after fearing for her own safety but did leave her contact details with a vet who was tending to the stricken seal.
Freddie regularly entertained walkers while sunbathing near Hammersmith Bridge in Barnes, South West London and his death has seen an outpouring of grief on social media.
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue, whose medics treated Freddie at the scene before taking him to South Essex Wildlife Hospital, said: “We contacted a number of marine mammal veterinarians…and sadly based on their experiences the decision is that he needed to be euthanised for his welfare.”