Man committed suicide after his pet was seized

The Oxford Times: A verdict of suicide was reached at Oxfordshire Coroner's Court A verdict of suicide was reached at Oxfordshire Coroner's Court

A MAN killed himself after his pet dog was taken away by police, an inquest heard yesterday.

Officers were called to the home of Matthew Bonner, also known as Matthew Vella, on the evening of November 29 after the 36-year-old’s dog Oreo attacked him.

Fearing for his welfare and of others, they believed the half American bulldog and half pitbull to be dangerous and took the dog away, the inquest was told.

Mr Bonner, who was bi-polar and had previously taken an overdose in 2009, was found dead in his flat in The Hawthorns, Thornhill Walk, Abingdon, by police the following day.

The inquest at Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard Mr Bonner was found with two notes which read: “I failed my dog Oreo.” and “I will be dying, I failed Oreo,” as well as an empty bottle of vodka and empty packs for 85 tablets of a prescription anti-psychotic drug.

Of the dog attack, neighbour and witness Nicholas Thorne said in a statement: “His dog was going a bit wild, it was tearing things up. I think it needed to go out. Matthew then got bitten by his dog and he pinned the dog down.”

Mr Thorne said he then called the police.

Friend and neighbour Andrew Munt , who had given Mr Bonner the dog about five months earlier, said in a statement: “Matthew was so distraught with what had happened with Oreo. Matthew was very emotional. He broke into tears saying it is not the dog’s fault.”

Mr Bonner’s father Keith Vella told the inquest: “Matthew was the unfortunate recipient of a dangerous dog and I would hate to think someone else further down the line would be in the same position as Matthew.”

Mum Sheila Vella said: “Matthew thought he was strong enough to control the dog. We said no Matthew, you can’t have him.

“He lost contact with us.”

She added: “I do find it odd why he was prescribed so many tablets when he had tried to take his life.”

But assistant coroner for Oxfordshire Nicholas Graham said: “The evidence seemed to suggest there was a slight increase in medication prescribed. But [there was] some indication he had kept medication previously; he had hoarded it.”

A verdict of suicide was recorded.

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