Sparkles in happier times.

Animal rights campaigners and parents have reacted with anger and confusion after a much-loved family dog was placed on the Sex Offenders Register FOR LIFE.

According to witness reports, Border Collie Sparkles was taken into custody after ‘dry humping’ a tree in Chalkwell Park while children were standing 10m away, and the dog was then charged with indecent behaviour in a public place.

Because a number of under 18s witnessed the ‘sex act,’ Sparkles was also judged to be a ‘threat to minors’, and as a result he must now report weekly to a local police station for life.

Barry and Wendy Nicoise from Leigh Road found Sparkles in a local shelter in 2014 for their two young children, and he must now stay at least 50m away from them at all times – they have all expressed their disgust at the decision.

Barry said: ‘Sparkles can get a little bit too friendly sometimes, but the real insult is that we have had to knock on every door in our road and introduce him to the community as a registered sex offender.’

‘He has had to give up his volunteering role as a part-time guide dog as well because he comes into contact with a number of vulnerable people.’

A source in the South Essex Child Protection Welfare Protection Unit confirmed that Sparkles has been the subject of these proceedings.

He added: ‘Although none of the children really understood what Sparkles was up to, the fact remains that he was in a state of arousal within 10m of them. In modern day Britain, we couldn’t be seen to not be taking affirmative and decisive action against this individual.’

In a late development, it has emerged that there are currently 57 different dogs in the borough of Southend who have to report to a police station weekly.

According to a Freedom Of Information Request, the range of offences include ‘sniffing a toddler’s posterior’ and ‘suggestive and sexually provocative tail-wagging in front of a primary school.’

We asked our contact in the South Essex Child Protection Welfare Protection Unit for their reaction to this FOI Request.

He said: ‘Members of the public shouldn’t be alarmed by these figures. If you are thinking about getting a dog as a family pet, our research shows that Golden Retrievers and Cockapoos are the breeds that are least likely to commit a sexual offence against a human.’