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Urgent Need for Updated Dangerous Dog Law After Savage Attack on Cat

25 June 2015

UK - A savage dog attack which has left a cat needing to have a leg amputated has prompted the UK’s largest cat charity to renew calls to update the law on dangerous dogs.

Eighteen-month-old Clive was discovered with appalling injuries by his owner Bianca Kubler, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, after venturing into the park near his home in May.

After being rushed to a vet, the black-and-white puss needed to have a leg amputated and extensive surgery to wounds sustained during the attack.

Despite his appalling injuries, Clive is now making a good recovery but Cats Protection says his case is not an isolated one, with around 10 cats every month reported as being the victim of a dog attack – 80 per cent of which are fatal.

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 194,000 cats every year through a network of 250 voluteer-run branches and 31 adoption centres.

Mrs Kubler, who also volunteers for Cats Protection, said Clive had only been out for 30 minutes when she discovered him lying helplessly in her garden, which backs onto a public park.

She said: “His injuries were so severe the vet initially thought it must have been a road accident, but then he discovered the puncture wounds that pointed to a dog attack. 

“His injuries were horrific yet must have been sustained in a very quick and violent attack. Any dog who did something like this is clearly not under control and should have been on a lead, wearing a muzzle.

“We can only assume he was attacked in the park. It’s bad enough to think of the suffering Clive has been through, but I shudder to think what could have happened had a child been near and they had been the victim of this attack. Because this dog has not been identified, it worries me to think what it is capable of, and what it may do in the future.

"We reported the attack to the police straight away but were told there was nothing that could be done."

Cats Protection launched its Manifesto for Cats earlier this year, calling for a string of measures to improve the lives of cats in the UK – including updating the Dangerous Dogs Act to allow for prosecution in cases where a dog attacks, injures or kills a cat.

Cats Protection’s Advocacy Manager Jacqui Cuff said Clive’s case showed the appalling injuries that can be caused to cats which fall victim to dog attacks.

She said: “Most dog owners are responsible people who ensure their dogs are well trained and controlled. And indeed, many cats and dogs live happily in the same household. But sadly a few owners fail to keep their dogs under control, with potentially devastating outcomes.

“In Clive’s case, the dog owner wasn’t identified and this can often be the case. For this reason, it is clearly important for the emphasis to be on prevention first rather than prosecution.

“We welcome new measures introduced within anti-social behaviour legislation to minimise dog attacks and promote responsible dog ownership. This allows for action to be taken where dogs are known to have caused a problem in their communities - for example, for a dog to be muzzled, kept on a lead or for their owner to attend training.

“Where owners are identified, we believe the current laws are inadequate and successful prosecutions are hard to evidence and secure. We want to see this changed to act as a deterrent for the minority of dog owners who do not keep their pet under control.

“We hear of at least 10 cases every month where cats are attacked by dogs, and 80 per cent of reported attacks are fatal. These are the cases we hear of, but we suspect many more go unreported in the press or to police.

“Clearly this is an appalling and worrying situation for society as a whole. Of course it is horrific when an owner loses a much-loved family pet in such a violent way, but it is also terrifying to think that many of these attacks are taking place in public places like parks where young children are present.

“We have heard of cases where a dog that has attacked a cat has gone on to attack a child and that is clearly a very concerning situation."

To find out more about Cats Protection's Manifesto for Cats and its work Speaking up for Cats please visit www.cats.org.uk/manifesto and www.cats.org.uk/speakingupforcats

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