Maghaberry woman Natalie Agnew, who lost her collie dog in a horrific burns attack, has written a moving book on the subject.
‘Justice for Cody: The End Was Just The Beginning’ available at Amazon Kindle tells a moving account about the savage killing of her pet dog at Maghaberry Road back in 2012 when he was doused in petrol and set on fire.
The three-year-old dog was left so badly burned that her ribs and other joints were visible through the charred flesh. Two weeks after the vicious attack she had to be put down.
Jamie Downey and Andrew Richard Stewart were given the first custodial sentences believed to have been imposed in Northern Ireland since new animal cruelty legislation came into effect in 2011.
Downey was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice while Stewart was ordered to serve ten months in prison before serving ten on licence, and ordered to pay Cody’s owners compensation of £2,600.
The ordeal of seeing the family pet die in such a vicious way left Natalie ‘totally devastated.’ She did not want any other animal to suffer in this way so started a campaign for tougher animal cruelty laws.
She believed the incident taught her that society and the law had to change with the help of a Cody’s Law - which seeks tougher sentences for animal cruelty and a register of perpetrators.
The book contains a foreword from TV star Paul O’Grady, describing it as ‘a very powerful and moving read’.
Natalie was approached by a publisher and asked if she would like to write a book about her justice fight.
“I decided that I would like to do something about it as the whole incident was so awful that I wanted to do something positive,” she said. “I want to keep Cody’s name alive and we received such outstanding support in our campaign from Steven Ferris and Paul O’Grady.
“I have thrown all my emotions into fighting for justice and will continue to do so. I have received such positive feedback about the book.”
On the night of Cody’s attack Stewart and Downey had gone for a stroll round Maghaberry to walk off the effects of alcohol when Cody attached herself to the duo. She followed them from outside the Agnew home to a nearby quarry where the two men played fetch with the dog. But when Downey went to urinate, Stewart doused the animal in diesel and ignited her coat.
More than 70,000 people have supported the Justice For Cody Facebook campaign.
An internet fund has raised £30,000 for animal shelters in Northern Ireland and the Guide Dogs Association.