'We had to say goodbye to our dog over FaceTime after he was mauled by XL Bully'

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Cocker spaniel Marley had to be put to sleep after being attacked by an XL Bully breed while staying at a kennels (Image: Ellie Jayne Moon)
Cocker spaniel Marley had to be put to sleep after being attacked by an XL Bully breed while staying at a kennels (Image: Ellie Jayne Moon)

A heartbroken woman whose beloved pet was mauled to death by an XL Bully breed that had been left with their pet sitter has backed the Mirror's campaign to take tougher action on dangerous dogs.

Ellie Jayne Moon and her fiancée Chloe were on a family holiday in Turkey when they received the worst phone call of their lives. They were told their 12-year-old cocker spaniel Marley had been mauled by the dog after charging at him when a customer accidentally left a gate open.

The unprovoked attack lasted just seconds, but left Marley with a catalogue of injuries which vets said were likely inoperable. Devastated, the couple had to say goodbye to their pooch over FaceTime after being told the operation would cause him further pain with no guarantee he would survive.

Distraught, and in a bid to honour Marley's memory, the pair are now petitioning for the breed to be banned. In the wake of Marley's tragic death police seized the offending dog – but ultimately returned it to its owner.

Ellie, 26, said their trip in July last year saw their bubble of happiness burst instantly, as the horrifying news came just two days after the pair got engaged. They explained that a dog owner who was dropping off their pet left a gate open at the kennels, while the XL Bully charged out of an open door in the house and sunk his teeth into Marley's neck.

Girl, 4, mauled to death in dog attack pictured as neighbours hear mum's screams eidexiqreiqtrinvGirl, 4, mauled to death in dog attack pictured as neighbours hear mum's screams
'We had to say goodbye to our dog over FaceTime after he was mauled by XL Bully'Marley, pictured with Ellie's partner Chloe (Ellie Jayne Moon)

Hearing the commotion, a neighbour sprung to the rescue and fought off the vicious dog with a piece of fencing. Marley was rushed to an emergency vet, where surgeons discovered he had a chunk of skin ripped from his neck in the 1 minute and 40 second attack. It's understood the dog also attacked the kennel owner leaving them with minor hand injuries.

Speaking exclusively to the Mirror, Ellie, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said she and Chloe had been promised Marley – who would sometimes get nervous around other dogs – would be on his own while left at the boarding kennels. "We had never left him on his own before, so we didn't want him to be any more distressed after being left", she said.

"We trusted them to look after him," she went on. "There were several things that contributed to what happened, but the bottom line is they told us Marley would be on his own. Had we known, we wouldn't have left him." A vet's report seen by the Mirror lists a catalogue of brutal and wide-ranging injuries to Marley, as well as confirming the dog was euthanised as a result of his excessive injuries.

'We had to say goodbye to our dog over FaceTime after he was mauled by XL Bully'Marley was left with extensive injuries, with vets urging the couple that putting him down would be the kindest thing to do (change.org)
'We had to say goodbye to our dog over FaceTime after he was mauled by XL Bully'Ellie and Chloe had just gotten engaged only to receive the terrible news (Ellie Jayne Moon)

The kennels, based in Royston, South Yorkshire, has closed since the attack, although it's unclear whether this was directly because of what happened. South Yorkshire Police, who dealt with the attack, confirmed the bulldog was later returned to its owner.

"She (the owner) had no remorse," added Ellie. "She didn't seem to take any responsibility for what it had done and claimed it must have thought Marley was a cat. Even if it had, what difference would that make?" As well as the police, Ellie claims Barnsley Council carried out a site visit on the premises in the wake of the incident.

"Marley losing his life needs to mean something," she added. "We have a full vet's report into all the lacerations and punctures he suffered and it's extensive. The attack lasted just one minute and 40 seconds. That's nothing for the injuries he suffered."

'We had to say goodbye to our dog over FaceTime after he was mauled by XL Bully'The couple have launched a petition to get the breeds banned (Ellie Jayne Moon)

The couple, who both work as warehouse operators for Next, have now launched a Change petition calling for XL Bully to become a banned breed. It comes as recent figures found the number of dog attacks soared by 26% last year resulting in nine deaths - including 43-year-old mum-of-two Joanne Robinson who was killed by an XL Bully in Rotherham.

The Mirror is pushing for tougher measures on dangerous dogs in a campaign which has been backed by the likes of Sir Keir Starmer. Ellie said the breeds were "clearly dangerous", and that "no one else should have to die or be hurt" for the law to change.

"We know these dogs were bred to fight and be aggressive," she said. "Lots of people will say it's the owner which makes them aggressive, but there have been lots of professional handlers who have been attacked."

Ellie went on to say she wholeheartedly supported the Mirror's campaign. "Every time I see news of another attack, I just feel anger," she revealed.

Dog shot dead by police after mauling girl, 4, to death in horror attackDog shot dead by police after mauling girl, 4, to death in horror attack

"I can't understand why this breed isn't banned already – how many more people and animals have to suffer before something is done? We've seen enough headlines about incidents like this happening now and people left with life-changing injuries to know they are dangerous. If this had been a child the damage would have been far, far worse. It's not even worth thinking about."

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed officers were called to a kennels in Barnsley at around 8am on July 28, following reports a dog had attacked another dog at the premises.

She said: "It is understood that an American XL bulldog attacked a cocker spaniel, causing significant injuries. The bulldog is then reported to have bitten the kennels owner causing injury. A community resolution was agreed with the kennels' owner."

A Barnsley Council spokesman confirmed the local authority also carried out "a full investigation" into the incident. He said: "While we found no evidence at the time that the attack could have been anticipated by the licensee, we will always investigate these sorts of incidents and take any necessary action." You can sign the petition here.

Susie Beever

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