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Grandmother joins fight for more rights for dogs after pet dies in Alsatian attack

PUBLISHED: 13:59 14 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:13 15 April 2019

Shirley Patterson's dog, Millie, died following a violent attack by another dog in Carlton Colville. Picture: Julie Hall

Shirley Patterson's dog, Millie, died following a violent attack by another dog in Carlton Colville. Picture: Julie Hall

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A Lowestoft grandmother whose dog died after being attacked by an Alsatian has joined a national fight to change the legal status of dogs.

Shirley Patterson's dog, Millie, died following a violent attack by another dog in Carlton Colville. Picture: Julie HallShirley Patterson's dog, Millie, died following a violent attack by another dog in Carlton Colville. Picture: Julie Hall

Shirley Patterson was walking in Carlton Colville on April 1 when her dog, Millie, was attacked by an Alsatian which grabbed her in its jaws and shook her repeatedly.

Millie underwent a major operation but she later died.

The case attracted the attention of 70-year-old Gaye Fisher, who is leading a campaign aimed at changing the way companion dogs like Millie are recognised in law.

Mrs Fisher, who lives in London, began the fight after her own dog, Brody, was mauled to death last year.

Gaye Fisher, who lives in London, began a campaign to change the legal status of companion dogs following the death of her own dog last year. Picture: Gaye FisherGaye Fisher, who lives in London, began a campaign to change the legal status of companion dogs following the death of her own dog last year. Picture: Gaye Fisher

She has contacted her local MP Tom Brake, which led Mr Brake to table a parliamentary early day motion on the matter.

It urges the government the consider changing the law to provide a greater level of protection to companion dogs, making it a criminal offence when they are attacked, and has so far gained 33 signatures from MPs.

After Mrs Fisher reached out, Mrs Patterson now said she plans to contact the MP about her own case, and said: “I didn’t have a chance with Millie. I got to the corner of my road and before I could do anything this dog had got her.

“It’s sad something like this has to happen before action is taken to try and put a stop to it.”

Mrs Fisher said: “This started in May last year when my husband phoned to say Brody had been badly mauled. By the time I got to the vets she was almost dead.

“Dogs attacking other dogs is a major problem. I initially decided to do a survey and people just kept coming forward.

“Some people say it is dog behaviour, but with all the incidents I’ve come across they are not altercations - they are small dogs being prayed upon.”

She has created a Facebook page, Justice for Brody and Companion Dogs.

“The campaign is building momentum and every day I’m getting notified of about three or four attacks,” said Mrs Fisher. “We’re calling for the status of companion dogs to be upgraded so that it is a criminal offence when dogs are attacked.”

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