A heartbroken woman has told of the devastation her family felt after their cat was brutally attacked by a dog and later died.
Sandra Hawkins, from Elvington, between Deal and Dover, is calling on dog owners to take more responsibility for their pets following fears a child could be hurt.
Mrs Hawkins found out her pet, Elvis, had been badly hurt after a neighbour knocked on her door.
The 18-year-old cat was on the path outside her home, unable to breathe properly.
“When I saw him lying on the pavement, I thought he was dead,” she said. “There were no injuries that I could see apart from a few superficial wounds on the back of his legs but his breathing was terrible.
“The vets came to get him and took him to intensive care.
“They tried to do everything for him, but he had a brain bleed so he couldn’t be saved.
“I couldn’t fault the vets’ efforts.”
The mother-of-three says it feels like a hole has now been left in all of her family’s hearts after the tragic loss of the pet, who they had taken care of for more than a decade.
“We got him when he was about six years old,” the 75-year-old said. “He was very thin and kept coming into our garden.
“We thought he was a stray but we then found out he used to live a few streets away but the previous owners said we could keep him.
“He was a dear little cat and so loving. When my husband had cancer, Elvis stayed right by his side when he was home from the hospital.”
Mrs Hawkins now wants to raise awareness of the devastation the incident has caused.
“He was 18 years old and still fit and healthy,” she said. “Our other cat Cindy, is now looking for him – it’s so sad.
“If only the owner of the dog knew what this has caused.
“No one has owned up. I’m not expecting them to pay the vet bill or anything, I just want an apology and for people to be much more careful if they do let their dogs out on purpose.
“The dog might have got out by mistake but the worst thing is that it could have been a little boy or girl holding an animal of their own when this dog attacked.”
Mrs Hawkins’ neighbour had captured the dog after the attack, but she says she was unsure what happened to it afterwards as she was so focused on Elvis.
She described it as looking like a Jack Russell terrier.
“The dog did look very ferocious at the time. I think people need to be much more aware of how they look after their dogs,” Mrs Hawkins says.
“The knock-on effect is just devastating and seeing him dying was awful.”
The Sweetbriar Lane resident says this is not the first time she has heard about a cat being attacked by a dog.
“It was the brutality of it, it’s just terrible. Something needs to be done to stop this happening.
“I know of someone who lives a few streets away who had the same thing happen, but luckily her cat has recovered.”
“The dog did look very ferocious at the time. I think people need to be much more aware of how they look after their dogs...”
Mrs Hawkins added the incident caused her so much stress that she had to go to the hospital the next day.
“I had chest pains so had to be taken to the hospital to be checked and make sure it wasn’t a heart attack,” she said. “It had been brought on by stress. My husband has heart problems and this has not helped him either.”
Mrs Hawkins reported the incident to Dover District Council and police.
A spokesman for the council said: “We spoke to the cat owners concerned, and we do understand how distressing this incident was for them.
“A dog warden has visited the area but has not been able to see the dog or identify any owners.
“We have logged the incident and would ask anyone with further information to contact us on 01304 821199 or email email@example.com, quoting reference WK/202316629.”
The police say no criminal offences were identified.