A grieving Leighton woman has been left furious after a “dangerous dog” savaged three of her cats – killing one – and was told by police that the canine won’t be put down.
Shirley Ruffles, 50, of Nelson Road, heard a commotion as she arrived home on the evening of Tuesday, September 5, to find a Staffie-cross was in her garden shed attacking her three cats.
Alerting her partner, Craig Warton, there was a bitter struggle to stop the “killing machine”, with tortoiseshell Polly, and British Blue, Sky, escaping. Sadly Polly’s sister, Maisie, died from a broken neck.
Shirley said: “Our back gate was broken and this dog had at some point run into our garden and was attacking our cats who like to sleep in the shed.
“I pulled Polly out by the tail, while Sky was actually attacking the dog and jumping on to its head.
“The dog was throwing my Maisie around like a rag doll and I was hitting it with my handbag – with anything I could!
“I screamed for my partner to come outside, yelling ‘it’s killing it!’
“I was hysterically trying to pull it off Maisie; it had no collar, and Craig kicked the dog and grabbed it by the face, getting it to let go of the cat.
“He threw the dog out and the dog hit the wall. Then we both hit the dog with a steel pole out of my son’s trolley jack and my five-year-old granddaughter came out and shouted ‘please go back inside – it’s going to kill you. It’s going to kill you.’
“The frightening thing was that every time I hit the dog, it didn’t make a sound. It was a killing machine.”
Despite their best efforts to make the dog run away, Shirley claims it ran back to attack Maisie three or four times, before Shirley hit the canine “really hard” and it fled out the back gate, which has since been repaired by Central Beds Council.
Amid the chaos, Polly had been taken into the house, while Sky was gone for two hours, luckily returning with just a scratch.
However, Shirley, whose four grandchildren live with her, has spoken of her family’s trauma, and her own upset at having to attack another animal.
She said: “This is not an attack on Staffies whatsoever; I have a Staffie myself, Buddy, and he plays with the cats.
“I feel gutted that I had to hurt that dog but I was trying to protect my animals.
“I’m worried sick that this dog is dangerous and it could have been a child. What if it had run into the house when we put Polly inside - what if my granddaughter had tried to pick Maisie up?
“If Buddy started a frenzied attack on another animal I’d have him put down!”
However, despite Bedfordshire Police visiting the dog owner, Shirley is still furious, claiming the force told her that the dog would not be put down because the canine was “friendly” in its own home, had not attacked herself or Craig, and was not a “dangerous breed” .
They also informed her that it had been let outside by the owner’s children, while the owner was asleep.
Now, the family have been left distraught, with the grandchildren sleeping with the lights on, and Shirley’s granddaughter asking ‘will that horrible dog be there?’ when they go to the back gate.
Shirley also says she has faced panic attacks and that Sky and Polly are traumatised, while her granddaughter was sick after the incident.
She claims: “I’ve bought a Lilly plant to go in the garden where Maisie used to lie and a stone cat ornament.
“Maisie used to go round the neighbours’ and everyone is really upset.
“I received an apology from the dog’s owner which was delivered on their behalf, by the police, but they won’t put the dog down because it attacked a cat!
“I wrote about what happened on Facebook so I could find the owner and witnesses also told me they saw the dog being called in by its owner knowing it had done something wrong.
“I’m not giving up. I’ve written to Andrew Selous MP about this.”
A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman said: “We did attend this incident and engaged with both the owner of the cat, and the owner of the dog.
“We have given words of advice to the owner and logged this as intelligence. However, following discussion with our Crime Recording Bureau this was not in itself recordable as an offence.
“We of course appreciate that this is highly distressing for the cat owner and although in this case this did not meet the criteria for prosecution, officers have provided advice to the owners of the dog to prevent any further opportunities for the dog to escape.”