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USPCA working way through canal dog find information

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A USPCA spokesperson has confirmed that a couple of individuals have emerged who feel that they may be able to identify the dog found weighted down in Newry canal last week.

The remains of the terrier-type dog, which had had its lead tied through a brick were noticed by a member of the public last Monday afternoon in the canal near Damolly.

From serious injuries sustained by the animal, it is suspected that it may have been used in the illegal practice of badger-baiting.

The spokesperson confirmed that the USPCA are "working our way through" the information received at present. No-one has, as yet, actually viewed the remains.

"We have the animal but it's not a pretty sight," explained the spokesperson.

"We're a bit wary. We'd like to try and make sure that they should be in there looking at it before we bring them in."

The dog was not microchipped, a process which can be carried out cheaply and which will identify the owner of a dog.

This lends even more credence to the badger-baiting theory, as the spokesperson outlined.

"The type of person who would have a dog for that purpose would never have them microchipped," he said.

"We would wish to urge people to have their dogs microchipped. It makes life so much easier in these circumstances.

"I know the law says you have to have it done now - but it's common sense anyhow, for the sake of a tenner or whatever it is."

In this appalling case, what has perhaps chilled people the most is the possibility that the dog was indeed alive when disposed off in the water.

The spokesperson said, however, that this cannot be conclusively proven.

"As far as drowning is concerned - you can only tell that if you find water in the lungs and with a body that's been in the water for probably a week at least - you can't say," he continued.

"But some of the injuries to it would suggest that it may have been used in badger baiting. Normally the faces are damaged in that carry on. This one is showing some evidence of that."

The USPCA representative also said that the reaction of the general public to the horrific incident was "immense".

"We've had immense public reaction to it, yes," he said.

"From right across the province people have been getting in touch with us. So maybe the wee dog has done others a favour by highlighting the problem.

"Badger diggers are not exactly invisible. They drive about the country in vans, with terrier type dogs with them, and long handled spades that they use for digging into sets.

"They're not invisible. If anybody sees any activity in their area, get on the phone, tell the police, take a number, do something."

The USPCA 500 reward for any information leading to a conviction in the case still stands, with the spokesperson adding: "It would be cheap at the price if we could catch that person".

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