Families on a quiet residential street in Moss Side, south Manchester, said they have been forced to change their lifestyles and be on constant alert over two “vicious” Shar Pei dogs which are frequently allowed to roam freely by themselves. The dogs, which are often spotted wandering unsupervised, are thought to have killed at least four cats in the area and bitten at least one woman.
The dogs are reportedly often spotted wandering unsupervised around Platt Lane and the surrounding streets.
With a primary school nearby, neighbors are terrified of what might come next.
Stephanie, whose name was changed to maintain anonymity, told the Manchester Evening News she witnessed her neighbour’s cat Burnie being killed by the dogs on May 26.
She said: “It’s pretty barbaric.
“We heard a commotion and ran outside. My daughter was ahead of me and she screamed mum, they’ve got the cat! We ran up, and they had the cat between them, one had one end and the other had the other end, and they were just playing with it.
She added: “It was horrific.”
Owner Leah learned of her beloved Burnie’s fate after Stephanie knocked on her door to deliver the news.
She said she had only let Burnie out five minutes before the attack.
She said: “It all happened so quickly. I’ve had Burnie for 15 years, he’s been with me every day apart from when I’ve been on holiday. It’s really horrible, a horrible way of dying.”
She reported the incident to Great Manchester Police (GMP), who refused to comment on the death of a cat but said the report had been passed on to their neighborhood team.
However, the RSPCA maintains that enforcing the Dangerous Dogs Act is the responsibility of the police.
Calling the incident “distressing”, the organization said: “Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their dogs are under proper control at all times.”
Another cat is thought to have been killed on the same night as Burnie and a woman attacked the morning after.
A group of neighbors are now working together to try to raise awareness of the dog, including at the local primary school over the road from where they believe the owner lives.
One neighbor going by the name of Stella to protect their identity said: “It’s an accident waiting to happen. They [the police] know who he is but nothing is being done about it.”
Another resident Stephanie, who owns two cats of her own, said the attacks have changed the way her family lives.
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She said: “It sounds really stupid, but it’s changed our lifestyle.
“A couple of weekends ago over the Jubilee weekend, we were out and my daughter was so distressed about the fact the cats could get out and something might happen that we had to come home to bring the cats in and lock them inside.
“It’s frustrating because these dogs are angry. They’re vicious. It has changed how a lot of us live because we’re all getting our cats in late at night.”
She thinks the dogs have been in the neighborhood for around two years but nothing has been done about them.
She said: “The dogs are well known to various neighbours. If nothing else, it’s antisocial if the whole neighborhood is scared of your dogs.
“I just think it’s only a matter of time before more people are bitten.”
The group of neighbors have reported the dogs to their local councilor Mahadi Sharif Mahamed who said he has contacted GMP about the matter.
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A spokesperson for RSPCA said: “This sounds like a very distressing incident and the owner of the cat involved must be terribly upset.
“Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their dogs are under proper control at all times.
“It’s therefore vital that owners understand the circumstances likely to lead to their dog being aggressive and also the signs of potential aggressive behavior in their dogs so that they can take steps to prevent incidents from occurring.
“Keeping dogs on a lead in appropriate places can also reduce the risk of incidents.
“We urge anyone with concerns about their dog’s behavior to seek advice from their vet who may refer them to an appropriately qualified clinical animal behaviourist.
“If your pet is attacked by another dog, we advise you to report this to the police.”
According to the RSPCA, Shar Peis have a protective nature and have a high prey drive, meaning they can be wary or violent towards other pets and people.
They do not recommend keeping the breed with younger children or other animals and advise that they require training to socialize them with other dogs from a young age.