Belfast Telegraph

Rugby star Stephen Ferris horrified by vile attack on pal’s pet

By Chris Kilpatrick

An Ulster rugby star has expressed his disgust after a sickening attack on a dog in which the family pet was doused with fuel and set alight.

Stephen Ferris called for the PSNI to come down hard on those who commit animal cruelty offences after his friend’s collie suffered terrible injuries.

The stomach-churning incident happened yesterday morning at Maghaberry in Co Antrim.

Martin Agnew was at home when his pet Codie — a four-year-old collie — came into the house with horrific burns across its entire body.

The extent of the burns were so severe the dog’s ribs and other joints were visible through its burnt flesh.

The injuries were so gruesome Martin had to act fast to ensure his sons — aged just six and 10 — didn’t see their beloved dog.

A vet was last night fighting to keep the dog alive.

Ulster and Ireland rugby star Stephen Ferris is a close friend of Martin’s. He said he was disgusted to learn of the attack.

“I’m a local lad and Martin is a mate of mine,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“Maghaberry is a very close-knit community and you don’t expect something like this to happen around this area.

“I have a dog myself and animal cruelty is something I don’t like at all and should be punished hard by the police.”

Martin said he had reported the sadistic attack to police.

“The dog came in about 11am and you wouldn’t have recognised it,” he said.

“It was completely burnt, the eyes, the nose — someone had set it on fire.

“It’s a really friendly dog — wouldn’t hurt a fly — and if you came in round our house the only risk would be getting licked to death,” he added.

“Luckily the boys didn’t see it, we kept it away from them, but when we told them this morning they were in pieces.

“I can’t put on record what I think of the people who did this.”

Two youths — who are believed to be in their early teens — were seen in the vicinity of the incident at the time.

Martin and Stephen appealed to anyone with any information to contact police.

Belfast Telegraph

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