MEMBERS OF the public have offered their own money for a reward leading to the prosecution of the person or persons who burned a Staffordshire Bull Terrier to death in a Birmingham park last month. Meanwhile, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier rescue organisation and the animal rights group PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals – have pledged over £4,000 between them towards a reward.
As reported previously, a dog walker made the grim discovery on Wednesday February 15th on the edge of Handsworth Golf Course, Birmingham. The dog was found tied tightly to a tree by his lead on a patch of open land, off Silvercroft Avenue. The dog had a wound on the top of his head and beside him lay a large burnt can, similar in shape to a de-icer canister. The fire scorched a large area of ground surrounding the body.
RSPCA Inspector Simon Davies, who attended the scene, commented: "It is my opinion that this dog was alive when he was deliberately set alight. He was tied to the tree so tightly that I had to use a knife to free him. Particularly upsetting is that I believe the dog was set on fire wearing a muzzle to prevent him from barking. I also believe whoever carried out this heinous act knew the dog would be found at this spot as it’s often used by dog walkers. A more secluded spot could certainly have been found but this was not the intention of the person responsible."
West Midlands police have not opened a crime incident on the dog’s death as the RSPCA are heading up the enquiry, although if the police come by any information relating to the incident they usually assist the Society and share information which might lead to a prosecution.
Inspector Davies told OUR DOGS: "Whilst we have had many calls and letters from outraged people shocked at this horrific case and offering support, we are disappointed at the calls for information. Somebody out there knows what happened and who was responsible and we hope that they search their conscience and come forward so we can find the culprit/s and make sure that this never happens again. No matter how insignificant you think your information might be it may prove vital in catching those responsible."
Joanna Mason of Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue East and West Sussex made contact with Bob Whittle of Northern Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue in Cumbria, who has secured funds from The Stafford Trust, who have set up a trust fund for this purpose. Thus far, the reward money from NSBTR has topped £3,000.
Meanwhile, two NSBTR members went into the Handsworth area last weekend and handed out approximately 500 flyers and put up many posters both in local businesses and also out on the street. They met many members of the community who – incredibly - hadn't even heard of this terrible act of cruelty.
* Donations may be sent to: Mrs J Bristow, 14 Thornview Road, Hellifield, Nr Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 4JJ. Cheques/POs made payable to: The Stafford Trust Appeal. (The Stafford Trust, Registered Charity No.1111698).
* If anyone has any information relating to this incident, information can be given anonymously on the RSPCA Hotline and callers can leave a message for Inspector Davies. Calls are treated in confidence. The Hotline number is 0870 5555 999