Petition demands tougher laws on dog cruelty cases in Northern Ireland

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The death of a young dog who was subjected to starvation and brutal violence before being buried alive, has prompted animal lovers to start a petition of protest.

The petition is calling for Northern Ireland’s political leaders and anyone in a position of power or influence to help enforce tougher laws for animal abuse.

It states: “This country, the courts and the law are failing neglected and abused animals time and time again. I’m calling for tougher punishments for those who abuse any animals. Neglect and animal abuse cases are continuing to happen daily, and the people doing these barbaric crimes are getting away with light punishments which isn’t good enough.”

The petition continues: “On March 15, a member of the public witnessed two males burying a live American Bull Dog, throwing rocks on her. Her injuries where barbaric. She had brain damage, broken ribs, a collapsed lung and was in an emaciated condition. The poor dog was in such bad condition that the only thing right to do was put the poor girl to sleep.

“I’m calling for our local political leaders or anyone in power to enforce stronger and tougher laws in Northern Ireland.”

The case the petition refers to is that of an American Bull Terrier who was dumped in a shallow grave with life threatening injuries, covered with rocks and left to die.

The three-year-old dog was lifted from the hole by a member of the public and taken for immediate veterinary treatment. but she could not be saved having suffered a severe brain injury, fractured ribs and a punctured lung, all believed to have been results of blunt force impact.

The dog, who had previously had had pups, was put to sleep by an emergency vet team as a member of an animal welfare charity held her in their arms.

Derry City and Strabane Alliance Councillor Rachel Ferguson has said those who are cruel to animals must be caught and brought to justice. She said: “How anyone can be so cruel to such a beautiful animal is unbelievable. I would pay tribute to the members of the public who reported this incident and to the vets who tried to help the dog in her last moments.

“If any member of the public has any information about this senseless attack, I would urge them to pass it to the police so those responsible can be brought to justice.”

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Alliance Animal Welfare spokesperson Patrick Brown MLA said: “This is an horrific case which shows the need for not only strong animal welfare legislation, but appropriate punishment for those convicted of animal cruelty. The public have an important role to play here, by reporting incidents of cruelty and helping the police catch and prosecute those responsible.”

SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter said: “This is a truly horrific incident and sadly another example of why we need to see more robust legislation when it comes to animal cruelty. An all island Animal Cruelty Register is something the SDLP has long been calling for, and would significantly contribute to keeping animals out of the hands of abusers.

“I am grateful for the actions of the person who rescued the dog and the efforts of the vet team who eased her suffering. Anyone with information that could help identify those involved needs to come forward and speak with police. The people who did this clearly have no regard for the welfare of animals and need to be held accountable for their cruel actions.”

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed they received a report of animal cruelty in the Ballyarnett area and are working in partnership with the PSNI in relation to the matter.

PSNI Inspector Robb said: “We appeal to anyone who may have been in the Ballyarnett Country Park on Wednesday, March 15 around 5pm and saw what happened, or anyone who knows who is responsible, to get in touch with us.

“Two men were seen in the area at around the time the dog was found. One of the men is described as being approximately 5’10 tall, well-built and wore a distinctive camouflage hooded top with the hood pulled up.

“The second man is described as being of a similar height, of a slim build with black hair and wore a dark blue tracksuit. These men are believed to have left the Park, in the direction of Cornshell Fields. We would ask these men to get in touch with us.”

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