A beloved Dulwich cat was brutally killed by a dog on the street on October 10, prompting its owners to consider petitioning a change in the law on aggressive dogs.
Thirty-five-year-old Sarah Coe was working in the Wash & Dry laundrette on Lordship Lane when, at around 3pm, she heard someone shouting, “let her go!”
She ran outside to find the shop’s widely-adored 22-year-old cat Bissey in the jaws of a dog.
“All I could see was just her head sticking out,” said Sarah. “I just went running out, while the dog owner started punching the dog in the head to try and release her.
“When she got out, Bissey hid underneath a car on the street.
“I was trying to get her out, but that’s when I knew she was seriously hurt because she wasn’t reacting to me touching her – and she always would.”
Eventually Sarah managed to rescue Bissey from beneath the car and rush her to the vet.
“Her head was flopping, her tongue was out, and she was choking. Her tongue was going blue, and by this point I was crying.
“When we got to the vet, he said he didn’t know how I had kept Bissey alive for so long, she was in such a bad way.”
The owner of the cat and the laundrette, Carl Worth, was called. After examining Bissey, the vet found she had a bleed in her liver, broken ribs, and a dislodged bone in her spine.
“I was pleading with the vets, saying it wasn’t her time to go,” said Sarah. “She was still full of life – there was nothing that would get rid of her.
“It was about 6.40 when they put her to sleep. I laid next to her as they did it and said, I’ll get her justice.
“Bissey was so loved. We’ve had kids coming into the laundrette asking: ‘where’s the cat, where’s the cat?’ I can’t tell them the truth.
“The community has been so lovely. A customer and a friend came in and they had made this pendant for her. It says Forever Loved. Carl and me burst into tears when she showed us.
“It was so hard opening the shop without her. We cried all day. I keep going to fill up her water bowl.
“She used to know the sound of my car engine when I arrived to work and come out miaowing. She always loved people coming to the laundrette.”
Bissey used to sit atop the washing machines to greet customers as they came in.
Since the attack, Sarah has spoken to others who have seen their pets attacked by aggressive dogs,
In one such example, a Staffordshire Terrier had to have 30 stitches after it was also attacked by an aggressive dog.
This has led Sarah to consider petitioning the government to change the law and amend the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to include sanctions on dogs that attack other pets.
Under the Dangerous Dog Act, it is an offence for a dog to attack a service animal, such as a guide dog, but not someone else’s pet – despite evidence to suggest that if a dog is willing to attack other animals, it may be at risk of attacking humans.
Sarah has therefore not been able to secure any compensation or legal action for Bissey’s death, or any way to refund the £1,000 it cost the owner Carl for the three hours Bissey spent in the vet after the attack.
Earlier this year the News reported on an attack by three dogs in Norwood which prompted a petition to summon community support and encourage local authorities to take the incident seriously.
Like the recent killing of Bissey, this attack raised questions over the effectiveness of the Dangerous Dogs Act in protecting against vicious dogs.