Cat owner welcomes police investigation into attack

Dawn and Aaron Priestley with two of their survivng cats
Dawn and Aaron Priestley with two of their survivng cats
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A tragic attack on a cat in Holbeach St Marks has highlighted a change in the law regarding incidents involving dogs.

Police told Dawn Priestley they would not be able to investigate what happened the day her treasured pet of 12 years died.

But dog warden Rachel Thompson said: “Since the law changed earlier in the year more things are covered if a dog gets out of control than people realise.

“Cats are undervalued, but they are a part of the family. It’s important the incident is looked into because other people living in the street who have cats must be terrified.”

Dawn said she first heard the news that Sam had been attacked from friends in Lapwater Lane, where they live.

Having suffered vocal dysphonia for four years, she could only whisper the events as told to her – her friends having called the Spalding Guardian initially because “Dawn hasn’t a strong enough voice to get angry.”

Dawn said: “My neighbours were told Sam had been sunbathing in a drive across the street and the dog had escaped and attacked and killed it.

“I was told Sam had been put in a dustbin bag.

”That’s what really upsets me. I’d had Sam for 12 years. He really was a street cat and was always ripping open dustbags – everyone knew him.

“I’m still waiting for a direct apology, but I don’t want there to be any more trouble. At least the fence is finished now.”

The story spread to the Facebook page Spotted: Spalding, shocking the owner of the dog, Shane Allen, and resulting in his family calling for an opportunity to tell their side of the story.

Shane, who has four dogs and works at his dad’s pub, the Lamb and Flag in Whaplode, said: “They are my babies – they wouldn’t hurt anyone.

“Stella, the dog that got out, was brought up with cats – she plays with them.

“I was at work when we got the call about the cat. Stella had pushed the back door of the conservatory and chased after the cat – it was always around here, I think the previous tenants fed it. We’d just moved in and I had no idea the door was not secure.

“The gate was ready to put up, but there had been so much to do when we moved in and we had to clear some ground for it. It’s just a tragedy Stella got out the day before it was due to go up.

“When I heard about what happened I came straight home. A neighbour told me he had put the dog around the back but no-one was at home at the time who knew who the cat belonged to.

“I had to get back to work so the cat was wrapped in a blanket, put in a bin bag because it was raining and left out of sight until I got back.

Dad Mick, who owns the property, said: “We were so angry by the comments on Facebook – we’ve even had death threats. We tried to apologise but no-one wanted to listen.”

Shane said since the death threats, his girlfriend had been afraid to go out of the house. He said: “We came here for a new start. I was brought up here and told her what a lovely place it was.

“Now we just want to get on with our lives. In couple of weeks when we’ve got things sorted in the house I want to take the dogs out walking. I walk them a lot and I don’t want people to be afraid of them.”

Dawn said she was pleased the police were now looking into the incident. Community Policing Inspector Jim Tyner said: “On this occasion we initially got it wrong.

“The legislation around dangerous dogs changed in May and this caused some initial confusion. I have spoken to Mrs Priestley and apologised for any additional distress this may have caused her. An investigation is now taking place.”