Animal lovers join forces to remember Cody

THE life of Cody – the collie dog that died after being doused in flammable liquid and set alight at her Maghaberry home in August – was remembered at the weekend when more than 1,000 animal lovers joined forces at Stormont.

The Agnew family gave money that was donated to them for Cody’s care to a number of local animal welfare organisations including Guide Dogs and Assisi Animal Sanctuary in Bangor.

Dog owners attended the rally with their pets to raise awareness for animal rights and support the call for tougher sentences for animal cruelty.

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As well as donating to the Guide Dogs, the family are running an online campaign to raise £5,000 to have a Guide Dog puppy named in Cody’s memory. They have raised half of the funds needed already.

Mother-of-two Natalie Agnew said the support for the family after their pet was attacked had been overwhelming.

She said: “The support has been amazing. We didn’t expect any of this and the donations as well for Cody’s vets bills were unbelievable. It’s really heartwarming.”

Martin Agnew said they were “overwhelmed at the number of people who came to Stormont”.

“There were around 1,000 people there, maybe more,” he said. “Giving the money back to animal charities is our way of saying thank you to everyone who donated money for Cody.

“It is not closure for us as a family, we won’t have that until those who set Cody alight are charged.

“We got a new pup called Rex. We did think it was early but once we saw the wee fella who had been abandoned you couldn’t leave him. He has come into the house and is distracting everyone.

“Rex is a collie and everyone was all over him yesterday at Stormont because they had heard about him on Facebook.”

Tragic Cody lost her fight for life on August 26.

Around 70,000 people from across the world left messages on the Justice for Cody Facebook page in the days after she had to be put down.

At the time Mrs Agnew said the decision had been “very traumatic”.

She said: “She wasn’t able to walk or go to the toilet at the end and we couldn’t leave her like that, suffering for any longer, knowing that the inevitable would happen.”

Martin said “losing Cody has been hard for my wife and my kids”.

“I mean how do you explain to kids when they ask why that happened,” he said. “The house is settling down a bit now and the pup is distracting us.”

Green Party leader Steven Agnew, who sponsored the Stormont event, said that animal welfare is an issue that needs to be taken seriously.

“The horrific case of what happened to Cody and the Agnew family who owned him is simply heartbreaking and shocking,” he said. “There’s certainly a perception out there that we are not tough enough with offenders of animal cruelty acts. The law was changed recently to up the sentences that judges can give and up the fines. What we’re really calling on today is for the courts to use those powers and send out a clear message that we do not accept animal cruelty in our society.”