Kitten dies after gun dogs’ savage attack on village rec near Hitchin

Fergus, who had to be put to sleep after being viciously attacked by two dogs in St Ippolyts. Pictur

Fergus, who had to be put to sleep after being viciously attacked by two dogs in St Ippolyts. Picture: Sarah French - Credit: Archant

A six-month-old kitten had to be put down after being savaged by two out-of-control gun dogs on a village recreation ground near Hitchin yesterday.

Fergus, the six-month-old ginger cat from St Ippolyts. Picture: Sarah French

Fergus, the six-month-old ginger cat from St Ippolyts. Picture: Sarah French - Credit: Archant

Sarah French, of St Ippolyts, told the Comet that the vicious attack by the unmuzzled dogs had left her ginger cat Fergus with a crushed spine and ruptured abdomen – meaning vets could not save him.

The dogs’ owner, she said, showed no remorse and kicked Fergus as he lay on the ground dying.

Police are investigating following the incident, which happened at the St Ippolyts Recreation Ground off Orchard Close at about 10.45am yesterday – and which has left Sarah and her family heartbroken.

Speaking to the Comet today, Sarah said she had been in her house – which backs onto the rec – when she suddenly heard a lot of aggressive barking, and Fergus screaming.

The French family's kitten Fergus, who has now been put to sleep. Picture: Sarah French

The French family's kitten Fergus, who has now been put to sleep. Picture: Sarah French - Credit: Archant


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She said: “They’d taken the cat and dropped him by the man’s feet. By the time I got there he was putting the two dogs on their leads.

“I was screaming and I ran over. He actually kicked the cat to one side. Fergus was still alive and trying to lift his head up, but he was in a terrible state.

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“I did scream at the man, saying his dogs had done this. He didn’t show a spot of remorse. He said ‘Well, clearly’, and walked off – leaving me there hysterical. He didn’t offer to help in any way, or even apologise.

“The vets did everything they could to save Fergus, but his back was too badly broken.”

Sarah describes the dogs as black working dogs – a springer spaniel and a retriever.

She said: “Proper gun dogs shouldn’t do that, and a dog like that should never be off the lead – especially not on a recreation ground like this.

“Fergus had just been happily playing in a tree – the attack was completely unprovoked. The dogs ran quite a distance from their owner to get him.

“This was a totally deliberate attack by these dogs. The injuries to my cat weren’t accidental or caused in play – they intended to kill him.”

Sarah said the attack was witnessed by another woman who happened to be walking her dogs on the rec at the same time.

She now fears taking her remaining five cats and three dogs out of the house for fear of running into this man and his animals.

She said: “I’d hate anyone else to go through this. It is heartbreaking.”

As well as contacting the police, the French family have raised concerns with St Ippolyts Parish Council about pet safety on the recreation ground.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that they were called just after 11am to reports that two dogs off their leads had attacked a cat and caused severe injuries – after which the dogs’ owner put them back on the lead and left.

Anyone who witnessed the attack, or has information that could help police, should call 101 and quote the crime reference number G1/17/2868.

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