Belfast Telegraph

TV's Paul O'Grady moved to write for book on horror killing of Cody the dog

By Amanda Ferguson

TV presenter and animal lover Paul O'Grady has given his backing to a new book by the Co Armagh owner of a border collie killed horrifically by thugs.

Natalie Agnew's book, 'Justice for Cody: The End was just the Beginning', is being launched at Stormont next week.

The plight of Cody the dog came to public attention in 2012 when she suffered appalling burns to most of her body after being doused in petrol and set on fire in the Maghaberry Road area of Moira.

Despite the best efforts of vets the young dog was too severely injured to survive and later died.

In 2014, two men - Jamie Downey and Andrew Richard Stewart - were sentenced to just a few months each for the attack, prompting calls for tougher sentences for animal cruelty.

Paul O'Grady, who describes Mrs Agnew's account as "a very powerful and moving read", has written the foreword for the new book, which is being launched at Stormont on March 25.

MLA Steven Agnew, leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, has written a chapter of the book. Last night, he told the Belfast Telegraph he was pleased to support the Agnew family and commended them for their passion for animal welfare.

"The family are calling for a register for people convicted of animal cruelty and I am pursuing that with the Justice Minister so it is being giving consideration," he said.

"I got involved in the Justice for Cody campaign through the family as they were aware of the work the Green Party had done on animal welfare issues.

"There was a debate in the Assembly calling for stricter penalties for people convicted for animal cruelty and we are hoping to pursue this again soon."

Natalie Agnew, said Cody's death "taught her that society and the law had to change" and she is determined that Cody's Law - seeking tougher sentences for animal cruelty and a register of perpetrators - will be passed.

Administrators of The Justice for Cody Facebook site, which has attracted 69,000 fans, believe the book "delivers on all sorts of levels to the reader".

"We hope, when you read it, you will see that the story has been sympathetically told - with great contributions from Paul O'Grady and Steven Agnew. It also covers how the investigation and court case unfolded and what's next for Natalie and her campaigning for stricter sentences."

In April 2014 more than 1,000 people and their pets demonstrated at Belfast City Hall after being inspired by Cody and other cruelty cases.

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Cody the border collie died after deliberately being set on fire. Cody's owner Natalie Agnew has written a new book 'Justice for Cody: The end was just the beginning'. It is available by visiting Part of the proceeds from the book will go to Northern Ireland animal charities.

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