Tragic pets to be hon­oured at memo­rial

Ser­vice will let own­ers share grief

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - BY JILLY BEAT­TIE j.beat­[email protected]

ABUSED, ne­glected and aban­doned an­i­mals will be hon­oured tonight with much-loved pets at a spe­cial memo­rial ser­vice.

Sparky, the lit­tle dog blud­geoned to death with a ham­mer, and a Staffie doused with acid last month, will be among hun­dreds of dogs recog­nised at North­ern Ire­land’s first Pet Re­mem­brance Day at Belfast Cas­tle.

The ser­vice will be­gin at 7pm to pay trib­ute to the an­i­mals that have made homes and fam­i­lies com­plete, as well as those lan­guish­ing in puppy farms and oth­ers lost to ne­glect and cru­elty. The re­mains of 12-week-old pup Sparky were un­cov­ered last year from a bin in Lur­gan, Co Ar­magh, fol­low­ing a house party.

He had sus­tained a num­ber of frac­tures and se­vere brain trauma.

Kyle Kee­gan, 24, from Lur­gan, had been due to go on trial at Craigavon Crown Court but pleaded guilty to caus­ing un­nec­es­sary suf­fer­ing and is await­ing sen­tence.

The ser­vice will also re­mem­ber the uniden­ti­fied brindled fe­male Staffie who sus­tained se­ri­ous acid burns last month. A vet made an im­me­di­ate de­ci­sion to put her to sleep.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend Belfast Cas­tle this evening as part of the World Pet Memo­rial ser­vice.

The event is be­ing sup­ported by Belfast-born an­i­mal rights ac­tivist Linda Martin, famed for her Euro­vi­sion suc­cess, and hosted by Olivia Kennedy who runs Lucy’s Trust.

Co-or­gan­iser Amanda Large said: “More peo­ple are open­ing up about the loss of a beloved pet and how it has af­fected them. Grief is not mea­sured by species but by what the de­ceased meant to us.

“The memo­rial ser­vice at Belfast Cas­tle will al­low peo­ple to bring along a pic­ture of their pet and to have their loss val­i­dated.

“And in Dublin, Dog’s Aid will host an­other ser­vice in Dublin Uni­tar­ian Church on June 23 at 3pm.”

KILLED Sparky

MON­STER Kyle Kee­gan

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