MORE than 100 animal lovers gathered to say goodbye to a much-loved terrier who was stolen, tortured and set on fire in a crime which shocked Sheffield.
Little Staffie Issac was remembered by his owner Andy McNamara and by strangers as well as friends during a candlelit vigil held at the spot where the nine-year-old dog’s charred body was discovered.
Andy was joined by his friend Rachelle Bannister-Hind, who had been caring for the pet when he was stolen from a house in Boundary Road, Wybourn.
Andy, aged 44, told The Star he had been devastated by Issac’s death but overwhelmed by the support he’d received from all over the country.
He said: “It has restored my faith in human nature. I’ve had dogs offered to me, people offering me money and all sorts.
“Everybody just loves dogs but there is too much animal cruelty going on and I want to speak out.”
Among those who attended the vigil were Jane Hesford, aged 42, and her family from Tankersley.
“We’ve come to support Andy,” she said. “We don’t know him at all but we had to be here. We’ve got two terriers of our own and we know that dogs are part of the family. What happened was shocking.”
Tearful Elaine Hancock, 57, from Gleadless, who has a Staffie of her own, said: “The person who did this must be the epitome of evil. I came to pay my respects.”
Sue Johnson, 59, from Woodhouse, who has a pet Jack Russell, said: “I don’t know how someone could do something like that. We needed to show our support and get the message out that you can’t do this to an animal.”
Zoe Fedak, 39, also from Woodhouse, added: “I don’t know the owner but I came because I was horrified by what happened. Nobody has the right to take a life.”
Andy called on those who had been touched by his plight to make a donation to the RSPCA after dozens of people contacted The Star offering cash in return for information leading to the conviction of the perpetrator.
Andy, from Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham, said: “There is also an animal cruelty petition that people can sign to get the Government to increase sentences for those convicted of animal cruelty.”
Gaenor Owens, 39, who travelled from Doncaster to attend the vigil, added: “I don’t know how someone could torture an animal for pleasure. Tonight has been about togetherness and making people aware of the epetition.”
Issac was discovered on Manor Laith Road, Skye Edge. His bones had been broken and he’d been set on fire.
His body was so badly damaged he had to be identified by his microchip.
A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing uneccessary suffering to an animal and has been released on police bail.
See http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34522 to sign the petition.