THE OWNER of two Dalmatian dogs broke down and wept as she told local news reporters how the dogs were shot while being taken for a walk by her sons.
Dot Nicholls was struggling to come to terms with the loss of 10-month-old Bandit who was killed at a countryside beauty spot in the Denholme area of Bradford, West Yorkshire. His mother Dfor was seriously injured when she was sprayed with over 30 shotgun pellets. Armed officers and a police helicopter rushed to the scene after the shooting but were unable to find the perpetrator.
The pedigree dogs were being walked on a footpath by Mrs Nicholls’ sons Sebastian, 12, Todd, 7, and Toby, 6 at around 1.40pm on Monday February 13th, during school half term.
The boys decided to let the dogs off their leads and the lively Dalmatians vanished. The boys dashed back to their nearby home to look for them.
After failing to find them they went back to the path where they made a shocking discovery.
Mrs Nicholls said: "Sebastian saw the man with the a gun and said ‘What are you doing?’ The man said nothing and then there were two shots. Sebastian said the man picked up Bandit and threw him over the wall into a field. He'd been shot through the collar. Dfor was shot once in the back of the neck and it came out of her side."
Mrs Nicholls said her sons had been left traumatised after seeing their beloved pets shot.
The stricken Dfor managed to limp home where a devastated Mrs Nicholls found her covered in blood.
"She came to the door and was going back out again," she said. "There was blood everywhere. I was going frantic because I didn't know what had happened."
The worried mother was horrified to learn her distraught children had been only yards away when the shooting took place.
"The children are devastated," she added. "Sebastian blames himself because he let Bandit off. There were no sheep there and the dogs were on the path. Hundreds of people walk that path.
I can't believe someone would cause this devastation. What he has done to my dogs is barbaric and nasty. They are so friendly and bouncy. They would lick you to death. I just don't know how someone could hurt animals like that.
"They were beautiful, soft animals. They were happy and loveable. Even sheep would have scared them to death."
Dfor underwent emergency surgery at the Gatehouse Veterinary Group animal hospital in the Allerton area of Bradford.
Over 30 pellets are still under her skin, but vet Terry Crowd said the damage could have been much worse if they had entered two inches lower and lodged in her spine.
"She has suffered a severe gunshot wound to the back of the neck," said Mr Crowd. "We sedated her because of the pain and carried out an X-ray. We will remove as many pellets as we can. She will probably make a recovery but there has been substantial damage."
Police are currently making enquiries into the incident but have so far failed to apprehend anyone.