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SPCA issues warning about dog care

The SPCA has issued advice in the wake of a horrific Christmas Day dog attack that saw a wheelchair-bound woman?s pet mauled to death.

Mary Janette Burgess, 70, was left heartbroken after her Highland Terrier Prince was killed by two pit bull terriers while tethered to a leash in her garden.

SPCA shelter chairman, Dr. Andrew Madeiros, urged owners to make sure they keep a close eye on their pets to avoid any similar incident in future.

?Any dog is capable of attacking and maiming another dog, and should therefore be contained and controlled properly even if it is a friendly dog. Even Labradors bite, although this is rare, and this incident shows what can happen if you have a large dog that is allowed to wander,? he said.

?A dog should be contained securely either indoors, or in a secure pen, or in a kennel. If taken off the property it should be accompanied by an adult and kept on a leash.?

Although keen not to be seen to cast any kind of blame in this tragic case, Mr. Madeiros added that it is generally undesirable to leave a dog tied up outside.

?This offers them no protection from another dog or person,? he said. ?A dog should not be left unattended outside whether it is tied up or being kept in by invisible fencing. Owners should remember that invisible fencing is successful in keeping their dog on the property but will not prevent other dogs from coming in.?

A ban was placed on the importation and breeding of certain dog breeds in Bermuda including American Pitbull Terriers and English Staffordshire Bull Terriers around three years ago.

It was confirmed yesterday by government animal warden Harry Bean that the dogs which attacked Prince were legally owned, having been born on the Island before the ban came into effect.

Mr. Bean said that the dogs appear to be of mixed breed but fall under the general description of ?pit bull terrier?. They were picked up by a dog warden after the attack and are currently in government kennels.

Mrs. Burgess is keen to see a prosecution over the attack which killed her treasured companion Prince, and Mr. Bean said that this is possible and a decision is likely by early next week.