Londonderry woman sees family cat mauled to death by dog

A cat has been mauled to death by a pitbull-type dog in Londonderry.

The family pet was attacked and killed in the Shepherd's Glen area in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The woman, who owned the cat, helplessly looked on.

The police were called and searched the area, but were not able to find the dog.

David Wilson from the USPCA said some people are using these dogs as weapons.

"It is entirely wrong, it is against the law and the penalties for urging a dog to attack another animal is a fine of up to £2,500 and for attacking a human it can be up to £5,000.

"These attacks are not particularly common but they are carried out from time to time."

Mr Wilson said there are several lines of enforcement to keep these types of dogs of the streets.

"Firstly there is local authority dog wardens.

"They carry all the powers necessary to seize those dogs and to prosecute the owners.

"The police would be a second line when say humans would be at risk or after the dog warden has gone home for the evening."

Compulsory micro-chipping was introduced for dogs last year, but David Wilson said it is unlikely to have an effect on people who own pitbull type animals.

"Our problem is that it is only responsible dog owners who would bother to micro-chip their dogs.

"The animal that carried out this attack is very very unlikely to be carrying a micro-chip."