Seven-Month-Old Bailey Is Fed to a Lurcher by a Group of Sadistic Teens in Search of Cheap Thrills in Northern Ireland
"This happened last Monday (February 22nd) but I've been too upset to speak about it until now. I just don't know how these young people can sleep at night after doing something like this. They are nothing but scum!"
-- Bailey's distraught owner
Lurcher dogs are taking a heavy toll on cats in both Northern Ireland and England. For example, pretty seven-month-old Bailey was let out on February 22nd by her owner to sit on top of the oil burner like she always did.
Little did the unsuspecting moggy realize that death was lurking just around the corner for her. (See photo above.)
She immediately was set upon by a group of ten teenagers who fed her to a black greyhound-type dog, most likely a lurcher. Upon hearing Bailey's plaintive cries for help, her unidentified owner hurried outside and was able to pry her loose from the dog's jaws. The damage already had been done however and Bailey, who was left with several broken bones and multiple lacerations, later died en route to the vet.
This savage killing occurred on Carlton Drive in Strabane, Northern Ireland, an impoverished town of seven-thousand residents in County Tyrone. Its population is 93.9 per cent Roman Catholic and the local chapter of the Provisional IRA waged a war of terror and destruction against English institutions and establishments in the city from the early 1970s until the turn of the century.
It then handed off the ball to the Irish National Liberation Army which staged numerous bank robberies and kidnappings between 2000 and 2006. The city therefore is far from being a stranger to violence.
"This happened last Monday (February 22nd) but I've been too upset to speak about it until now," Bailey's heartbroken owner related to the Strabane Chronicle on March 4th. (See "Cat Mauled to Death after Youths Set Dog on It.") "I just don't know how these young people can sleep at night after doing something like this. They are nothing but scum!"
The unpopular answer to her rhetorical question is: like babies. Individuals who commit these types of despicable crimes do so for pleasure. Instead of feeling a smidgen of remorse, they are extremely proud of themselves and their devilry.
"Goading a dog into killing a defenseless cat and reveling in the suffering is sadism," Stephen Philpott of the Ulster SPCA told the Strabane Chronicle in the article cited supra.
Moral indignation and name calling are fine as far as they go but they contribute very little toward either apprehending the perpetrators or putting an end to these types of attacks. That is a job for the police, prosecutors, judges, and jailers.
Besides, juvenile lawbreakers are able to get away with almost any crime. What societies everywhere fail to realize is that these youthful offenders only become more emboldened by their successes and accordingly go on to commit even more hideous crimes as adults.
The feeding of cats and kittens to lurchers as bait is far from being confined to County Tyrone. In fact, it has been going on for at least several years in the Creggan, Waterside, and Shantallow sections of Londonderry.
Moreover, not all of these attacks are isolated, ad hoc incidents, but rather are part and parcel of an organized cat-stealing operation replete with steel cages that are baited with tuna. (See Belfast Telegraph, February 25, 2010, "Fears That Many Cats Are Being Caught for Dog Baiting.")
Attacks by lurchers, whether intentional or circumstantial, also are a recurring problem in England as well. For instance, a lurcher strayed into a yard in the civil parish of Keighley in North Yorkshire on March 5th and killed a twenty-year-old female cat named Gismo.
The cat's owner, fifty-two-year-old Mick Clarke of Guardhouse Road, attempted to mount a rescue but the dog refused to let go of Gismo. The police and the RSPCA have been notified but, predictably, no arrests have been made so far and the dog is still at large.
"I'm just absolutely disgusted," Clark told the Keighley News on March 11th. (See "Warning after Cat Is Killed by Lurcher.") "What if my granddaughter had been out there at the time with the cat in her arms? Anything could have happened. This just isn't right."
With that type of aberrant behavior occurring, it is not surprising that Keighley is every bit as far removed from being an urban idyll as Strabane. In 2003, for example, an online poll conducted by The Idler magazine listed it as one the fifty worst places to live in England.
Isolated attacks by lurchers that are unaccompanied by their irresponsible owners, such as the one in Keighley, pose a difficult problem for the police. Since these dogs are difficult to corral, they simply run off and commit additional offenses elsewhere.
That is hardly the case with professional dog baiting rings and teenage hoodlums who use lurchers in order to kill cats. With the expenditure of a little money and elbow grease, police and humane officials should be able to bring these criminals to justice.
After all, it was only last July that the Humane Society of Missouri, the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the USDA successfully staged the largest dogfighting raid in American history. (See St. Joseph News-Press, July 9, 2009, "Dogfighting Ring Busted.")
That measure of success requires, however, that officials take animal abuse seriously and be willing to commit sufficient resources to the cause. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case in either Northern Ireland or England.
Photo: Strabane Chronicle.