Halifax: Pet rhea dies after 'horrific' dog attack

  • In Science
  • 2022-12-05 15:00:04Z
  • By BBC

A woman has spoken of her shock after her pet rhea died following an attack by dogs cheered on by men wearing camouflage kit.

The large flightless bird named Mr was attacked in a field near the village of Shelf, near Halifax, on 30 November.

Lucy Keegan said the bird had been pinned-down and attacked for almost 10 minutes by two lurcher-type dogs.

Police have appealed for anyone who saw a white Astra van in the area between 13:20 and 14:00 GMT to come forward.

Rhea birds, Mr and Mrs
Rhea birds, Mr and Mrs  

Ms Keegan said she had been about to set off on the school run from her home in Pepper Hill when she heard men shouting "kill it, kill it".

"I ran to the field where my pet rheas Mr and Mrs lived and saw four men wearing camouflage gear who said they were trying to stop the attack and didn't know whose the dogs were.

"After about 10 minutes of it going on and on they caught the dogs, bundled them into the van, did a three-point turn and raced off," she said.

The bird was rushed to a vet but later died of its injuries.

Rheas originate from South America. They are large, flightless birds related to ostriches and emus and can run at a speed of up to 40mph (64 kmh).

Ms Keegan said both her birds had been "ferociously" attacked by the dogs. She said the surviving bird was now "just wandering about scared".

"I've barely eaten since the attack, it was horrific, I just can't comprehend it," she said.

"The birds had been really settled and had started making nests and laying eggs - they were part of people's daily walks, they would stop and talk to them," she added.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: "Many of you may be aware of the incident where a pet rhea was attacked by a dogs in the Shelf area.

"Sadly, the animal has now died as a result of its injuries.

The force said anyone with information about who was responsible for the "horrific attack" should get in touch.

A JustGiving fundraising page has been launched to help raise money to pay for Ms Keegan's vet bills.

"I can't believe the generosity of people since it happened," Ms Keegan said.

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