£1,000 reward to catch dog acid attack culprits

June 3, 2019

A reward of £1,000 has been offered for information that will lead to the apprehension and conviction of those who carried out an horrific acid attack on a family pet dog in Newry.

Announced details of the reward put forward by the USPCA, its Chief Executive Brendan Mullen said: “The graphic reports of the appalling acid attack that took the life of a family pet in Newry has triggered a tidal wave of revulsion and through the generosity of the public, we are now able to offer this £1,000 reward. We would encourage anyone with information that may assist the PSNI in their investigation to contact them on the 101 number. It is important that the perpetrators of this vile and cruel act are found and brought before the courts.”

The Newry vet who was tasked with treating the family dog that sustained horrific injuries in the acid attack has said it is the worst case of animal cruelty he has ever come across.

Patch, a Staffordshire terrier, had to be euthanized by Liam Fitzsimons of Newry Veterinary Centre, such were the extent of her horrific injuries.  A woman found the dog in the Pound Road area of Newry shortly after 6.00pm on Tuesday and alerted the local dog warden.

Patch is the family pet of Lisa Hodgin’s daughter and Lisa spoke to The Examiner about her and her family’s anguish.

“As you can imagine, we are all devastated. My daughter is distraught. She has Asperger’s and is already very anxious by nature.  Her two-year-old son loved Patch and keeps asking for her.

“The dog went missing on Tuesday from the locked back garden between 2 and 3pm. She then turned up at a neighbour’s house 100 yards from my daughter’s back gate where the dog was locked.

Patch was a much loved family pet who suffered severe injuries in an horrific acid attack.

 “Patch was so badly burned the neighbours didn’t even realise it was my daughter’s dog. They put a picture on social media, where we saw it and knew it was Patch.”

Given that only several hours passed between the dog going missing and then being found in an abused state, Lisa believes that the attackers are within her locality.

She said: “With the time frame and close proximity to my daughter’s home and it being the middle of the day, we have no doubt the person who did this is close by.

“My daughter stayed away from home last night with her son as she was terrified to stay at home after the vicious attack. We really need to find out who did this as people in the area are so scared at the violent nature of the attack.”

Lisa was able to describe in shocking detail the horrific nature of the attack.

She revealed: “There was acid of some sort poured over the dog and into her eyes, which made her blind. Her sides, and even her insides, were so badly burned that she had to be euthanized.”

She has appealed for anyone who may have any information pertaining to this vicious attack to contact her or the family.

Liam Fitzsimons, of Newry Veterinary Centre, was the vet who received the dog at his clinic on Tuesday.

Speaking of the appalling state of the animal, Fitzsimons said: “You could smell the burning off the animal and the skin was falling away. The dog’s tongue was ulcerated as it was licking the acid off of its skin.”

He added that it was the single worst attack he had seen in his 30 years as a vet, adding: “This is the worst case of animal cruelty I have ever come across. I will take this case to my grave.”

He also issued a warning to local members of the public, saying: “There is a monster on the loose in Newry. If they can do this to a dog, they can do it to a human.”

David Wilson, of the local animal charity USPCA which is based in the Carnbane Industrial Estate, has also called for anyone with information on the attack to come forward.

 He said: “The whole thing beggars belief. This is just appalling. I don’t think I could give the family any message that would make any difference to them, but I would say to the community; please give the police all the assistance you can to bring these people to justice. If they done it once, they will do it again.”

The PSNI is investigating the attack and have retained the remains of Patch for forensic examination in a bid to apprehend the culprits.