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‘It was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen’ - Dispute ensues as rescue dog is put down after mauling kitten to death

PUBLISHED: 15:55 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:03 01 February 2018

Miss Woodley's kitten, Kitty, who was killed by Zeus. Picture: Michelle Woodley

Miss Woodley's kitten, Kitty, who was killed by Zeus. Picture: Michelle Woodley

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A dispute has ensued after a rescue dog killed a woman’s kitten within hours of being rehomed.

Zeus, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who was rehomed from Hillside Animal Sanctuary and was put down after killing Miss Woodley's kitten. Picture: Hillside Animal SanctuaryZeus, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who was rehomed from Hillside Animal Sanctuary and was put down after killing Miss Woodley's kitten. Picture: Hillside Animal Sanctuary

***WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT***

Michelle Woodley rehomed three-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier Zeus from Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Frettenham on Saturday January 20, as a replacement for her previous Staffordshire Bull Terrier which died in November.

Miss Woodley’s previous dog got on well with her six-month-old kitten, Kitty, and staff members at the sanctuary assured Miss Woodley that Zeus was cat-friendly.

However, after getting back to the house Zeus violently attacked Kitty when she was let in the kitchen from the garden.

Michelle Woodley's therapy kitten was mauled to death by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier which had adopted just hours before. Photo: Harriet OrrellMichelle Woodley's therapy kitten was mauled to death by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier which had adopted just hours before. Photo: Harriet Orrell

Miss Woodley said: “It was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen. I was holding Zeus by the collar but I couldn’t stop him.

“He had her whole body in his mouth and chewed through her bowels, her chest and her legs. There was blood and poo everywhere and Kitty was screaming.

“My lodger had to get the dog in a headlock and my daughter had to scrape Kitty out his mouth with the end of a hoover.”

Kitty was still breathing and Miss Woodley called Hillside Animal Sanctuary and the Cherry Tree Vets, Diss.

Miss Woodley's kitten, Kitty, who was killed by Zeus. Picture: Michelle WoodleyMiss Woodley's kitten, Kitty, who was killed by Zeus. Picture: Michelle Woodley

Upon arrival, the out-of-hours vet confirmed that Kitty had died and decided, after consulting with Miss Woodley, to euthanise Zeus.

Miss Woodley has requested that Hillside Animal Sanctuary cover the £600 vet bill, as well as compensating for the death of her kitten and reimbursing the suggested £140 donation she made when rehoming Zeus.

However, Hillside Animal Sanctuary holds Miss Woodley “fully responsible” for the death of both animals.

John Watson, co-manager of Hillside Animal Sanctuary, said: “What happened was dreadful, but the last thing we’re going to do is take the blame. We drove 35 miles on a Saturday evening to collect Zeus only to hear he had been put down.

“Zeus had lived peacefully with cats previously but we said that he must be introduced to the cat steadily once the dog had got used to his new surroundings, not have it dropped on his head.

“When someone rehomes a dog from us they don’t become their property and they have no right to do what they did to Zeus.”

Hillside Animal Sanctuary has lodged a complaint with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons about the professional conduct of Cherry Tree Vets.

A spokesperson for Cherry Tree Vets said: “Our vet discussed the options for the dog with the owner and both parties agreed that for the safety of the family, any neighbouring pets and public protection, the best thing to do would be to humanely euthanise the animal, as clearly he was being unpredictable, savage, unsocialised and dangerous.

“There was no way of telling if his temperament or attitude towards babies and children would be identical to the one shown with an innocent kitten. None of our vets take the decision to euthanise an animal lightly and will only do so if it is believed to be the safest to people, and kindest thing to do in such situations.”

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