St Annes family 'traumatised' after spaniel Ruby is mauled to death by off-lead dog near beach

A St Annes family were left traumatised after their King Charles Spaniel was mauled to death by an out-of-control dog on the Prom yesterday (Thursday, April 22).

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 3:46 pm
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 7:42 am
Eight-year-old Ruby, the Motley family's beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Motley family are grieving after Ruby, 8, was killed by a large German Shepherd-type dog which was off-lead when it attacked her outside the YMCA swimming pool at around 12.45pm.

Robert Motley said his wife had been sat on a bench enjoying a coffee in the sunshine with Ruby and Lady - the family's 5-year-old Dalmatian - when the savage attack occurred.

His wife, who has asked not to be named, said two large Alsatian-type dogs suddenly came "bounding out of nowhere".

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Ruby, 8, with Lady, the Motleys' five-year-old Dalmatian (right)

One of the dogs charged at poor Ruby and pounced on her, grabbing her in its jaws and fatally wounding her.

"They grabbed her and shook her and there was blood everywhere," said Robert.

"My wife was in total shock and screaming. She had blood all over her - it was like a murder scene."

Robert said the dogs' owners appeared too late to take control of the pair, and the couple allegedly made a quick getaway afterwards, leaving his traumatised wife holding a lifeless and bloody Ruby in her arms.

Ruby, 8, was killed by a German Shepherd-type dog that attacked her on the Promenade in St Annes on Thursday (April 22)

He said: "Some kind people passing by helped my wife take Ruby to the vet around the corner in Clifton Drive South, but there was nothing they could do.

"She was helpless and we are heartbroken. It's such a dreadful thing to happen. My wife is traumatised."

Whilst Ruby was rushed to the vets in a desperate bid to save her life, another quick-thinking passer-by who witnessed the savage attack decided to follow the couple and their dogs home.

He took note of their address and passed this information to the council and the police, who have since visited the dogs' owners to investigate.

Ruby (left) enjoying a walk on the beach at St Annes

Lancashire Police say the couple have been handed a Community Protection Warning, as well as a Dog Control Order from the dog warden.

A police spokesman said: "We were called at around 1pm yesterday (Thursday, April 22) to a report that two dogs had attacked another dog and were running loose close to the swimming baths in the Promenade, St Annes.

"Officers attended and following a search of the area identified an address for the owners of the dogs involved.

"Sadly, the dog attacked suffered serious injuries and later died.

"We understand this incident has been very traumatic for the dog's owners and for those who witnessed it.

"The owners of the dogs have been issued with a Community Protection Warning and a Dog Control Order by the dog warden."

A Fylde Council spokesman added: "The council is aware of the incident and the dog warden on duty was in attendance with the police at the scene when the owner was interviewed.

"Investigations are ongoing and anyone with any information about the incident should contact the police on 101 quoting the incident number 573/22."

But Robert says the law does not currently go far enough in dealing with deadly 'dog on dog' attacks.

At present, owners can only be charged if their dog is 'dangerously out of control' and a risk to the public, and such prosecutions are rare.

Robert and his family want to see tougher action taken to prevent similar attacks happening in the future.

He said: "The police and the dog warden were very good and are updating us later today on the investigation.

"But we have been told that if a dog is killed by another dog, there is often little the authorities can do, unless it is a banned breed.

"They are basically considered property and it is not often that a dog owner can be prosecuted for it.

"But Ruby was a part of our family. We had her for seven years after adopting her when she was just one-year-old. She was a huge part of our lives.

"She’d been through a few homes and never settled until she came to us. But we were able to give her the love and support she needed, and it is just devastating for our family that she has been taken away from us like this.

"It was a terrifying experience for my wife and our dogs - something needs to be done to prevent this happening again."

Robert is urging dog owners to sign a petition calling on the Government to change the law so that 'dog on dog' attacks are considered an offence.

The proposal seeks to hold the owner/s of the offending dog responsible for its actions, including fines or a custodial sentence, as well as a ban on owning dogs in the future.

Robert added: "I don't want to see these dogs put down and I don't blame the dogs for what they did to Ruby. It's not their fault as such.

"But if they can inflict such horrific injury on another dog, their owners should be held accountable. They have a responsibility to keep those dogs under control and under constant supervision.

"But these dogs were off-lead and didn't even have collars on, which is completely reckless behaviour.

"And the fact that they simply walked away, leaving my wife and Ruby covered in blood, is appalling. They are not fit to be dog owners."

You can sign the petition here.