Stray dog tears family pets apart 070

By Michael MacLeod

A DISTRAUGHT family are calling for Staffordshire bull terriers to be banned after their beloved pet dog was killed in a savage attack.

Catherine Falconer, 52, was walking her four-year-old Toby and eight-month-old puppy Milo when a stray dog came towards them.

The beast bit tiny Toby – a miniature dachshund who stood at just 20cm tall – round the neck and threw him into the air, before launching an attack on the family’s Dachshund pup.

The attack was so brutal that Catherine lost her voice as she screamed for help and when she tried to intervene, was bitten herself.

Vets fought to save the two dogs but couldn’t save Toby from what they described as “horrific injuries”, and Milo is still in intensive care.

Police are hunting for the dangerous dog, and have warned anyone who sees it to keep away, but the Falconer family insist that the breed should be banned altogether.

Catherine told how she was out walking the two pets just before midnight on Sunday near her home in Tranent, East Lothian, when the stray ran at them.

She said: “The dog was running hell for leather at us and I just knew from how vicious it looked that it wanted to kill my wee dogs.

“It dug its teeth into Toby and flung him into the air like a rag doll, then chased Milo and bit him too.

“Both my dogs were covered in blood so I kicked the Terrier to fend it off while it was jumping up at me.

“Every time I shut my eyes I see it, and I want them taken off the streets because they are no different to pit bulls.”

Four-year-old Toby died shortly after the attack, while doctors at the Braids veterinary hospital battled for three hours to save Milo in an operation on his ruptured abdomen.

The tiny pup is still in intensive care and has been given a 50-50 chance of survival.

Catherine added: “We sit up at night just waiting on a call from the vets with news about Milo,”

“I lost my voice screaming at the terrier to go away, and I’m so upset I can’t even cry.

“Everyone in Tranent knows how much we loved our pups, and why anyone would want to own a beast like the one which killed Toby, I do not know.”

Mike Hall, a partner at the Braids veterinary hospital in Edinburgh, described the injuries sustained by the two dogs as “horrific”.

He said: “They are small dogs so they do not have a lot of muscle or a thick coat or hide to protect them, and the injuries were even more severe than they might have been otherwise.

“Both dogs had injuries to the abdomen, and unfortunately one of the dogs was too badly injured and couldn’t be saved.

“The other was treated straight away by our E-Vets emergency team, who operated to repair damage to the intestines for around three hours. Milo is now in intensive care and is recovering but we will need to wait and see how he does.

“It is not uncommon for dogs to attack other dogs, unfortunately, but to see an attack like this must have been absolutely tragic for the owner.”

Catherine and husband Mike are now determined to help police trace the stray dog, and are considering asking local politicians to support their call for a ban on Staffordshire bull terriers.

The mother-of-two said: “I know it’s only a dog we’ve lost, but this happened just around the corner from a primary school, and I shudder to think what it would have done to a child,”

“These dogs are like weapons, and police told us they are often used by people for protection.

“But that’s no excuse, these aren’t pets and they should not be stray on the streets like this.

“Somebody in this area knows whose dog that is, and I would love to see them in court.”

Lothian and Borders Police confirmed they were investigating CCTV footage of the area, but were unable to trace where the dog had come from.

A spokesman said: “The dog is still at large and given its nature, our advice to anyone who sees it would be to not go near it and phone police immediately.”

Only last week the RSPCA issued a statement saying the breed were the country’s most abandoned dog.

Scottish SPCA spokesperson Jo Wilson said that while they can be good pets, owners must be responsible for their actions.

She said: “This is an incredibly tragic and horrific incident for the owners of the small dogs.

“But we would hope it’s the deed and not the breed which gets punished.

“Staffies can be brilliant family dogs and if one does suddenly become aggressive, we advise owners to please take them to a vet rather than dump them as sadly appears to be the case here.”

Truckers’ convoy to protest rising cost of fuel 069

By Alexander Lawrie
DOZENS of truckers descended on Edinburgh city centre yesterday in a protest over the rising cost of fuel.
Around 130 trucks from all over Scotland congregated at Strathclyde Park before the large convoy moved slowly along the M8 to the capital.
The protest was co-organised by trade magazine Courier Direct who are incensed about the escalating costs, and believe the current fuel prices are damaging the haulage business.
It follows similar protests in London and Wales last month.
As the fleet of trucks crawled its way towards the Scottish Parliament, scores of pedestrians and shop-keepers lined the streets to offer their support to the beleaguered drivers.
Brian Regan, managing editor of Courier Direct, said: “We are here to send a message out to the government to cut fuel tax duty as the current prices are crippling the industry.
“To begin with, we are hoping to persuade the government to cut prices immediately by at least 25p.
“It’s really great to see the general public and other motorists give us their backing because we are doing this for everybody, not just the trucking industry.
The convoy was not officially endorsed by the Road Haulage Association which plans to lobby MP’s at Westminster next month.
It was also evident that not all haulage companies in Scotland were backing the protest, with Eddie Stobart being the main company posted missing.
Steven Montgomery, of Montgomery Transport in Lockerbie, said: “It’s a shame that not all hauliers joined in the protest because we need everybody in the business to back the dispute.
“It is not a case of trying to cause any disruption, but more of a message to the government that we just can’t go on like this for much longer.
“I’ve already had to lay three drivers off in the last year because of the huge fuel costs we are being forced to pay.”
The estimated 130 trucks parked near to the parliament, and the drivers marched on foot, behind three designated trucks, to hand in their petition to Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson.
Edinburgh’s motorists kept their cool as the city’s traffic ground to a halt for around half an hour as the drivers made their way to Holyrood.

And local shopkeepers and pedestrians stood and applauded as they walked past.
Kathy Laidlaw, of local shop Cameron’s Upholsterers, said: “I’m in full support of the protest, as every small business in the country is affected by the huge prices.
“The cost of fuel affects us as well as the truckers, and a few shops round here have had to close.
“It seems a way of life is disappearing around here because of the huge costs involved of running a business.”
David Conroy, who lives near to the Parliament, said: “I think the truckers are quite right to protest. How else can they get their message across to the government?
“As for the inconvenience, it’s only one day so other motorists will just have to put up with it, simple as that.
“After all, the truckers are trying to help them too.”
The hauliers were also joined on the protest by courier companies from across the country.
Jerry Stewart, Director at Eagle Couriers, said: “In the courier industry fuel is one of the most important components of your business.
“For years prices have been steadily rising and now they are at a ridiculous all-time high, with oil priced at around $130 a barrel.
“The courier industry is utterly dependent on fuel. It is time to start reassessing our use of petrol and diesel as the world seems to be changing and there is fuel crisis after fuel crisis. There are only so many crises the industry can survive.
“We need as many people as possible – whether from the haulage and courier industries or just normal motorists – to show their support for initiatives like this if they are to have any impact and help drive fuel prices down.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government is deeply concerned about the impact of fuel duty rises on communities and businesses across Scotland, particularly for our rural and island communities, where fuel costs represent a significant cost burden.
“We are working with representatives from across industry to press Westminster for change to protect Scottish interests.”

Baby cream that’s better than Botox 068

By Alexander Lawrie
JARS of baby bottom cream have been flying off the shelves – after vain mums discovered its botox-like effect.
Staff at Waitrose supermarkets were mystified when their own brand of baby cream kept selling out, but quickly realised the cream is the answer to middle age wrinkles.
Now the supermarket giant has rationed the Baby Bottom Butter to just two pots per person.
Mums across the country are taking the saying ‘as smooth as a baby’s bum’ to a whole new level.
A branch in Edinburgh has revealed they have been inundated with requests for the magic ointment, with up to 15 women asking for it every day.
The buying frenzy erupted after the product, which only costs £2.49 a jar, was given a glowing endorsement on a parenting website.
David Lincoln, Waitrose store manager, said: “We just can’t keep up with the demand. It really is unbelievable.
“Our suppliers have told us they just can’t make the cream quickly enough.
“I’ve been amazed by the public’s reaction. It started off on an internet site and spread like wildfire.
“We haven’t had any for about two weeks but got 72 tubs in on Saturday. Needless to say, they were all sold by Monday morning.”
Shoppers at the Edinburgh store got a surprise yesterday after discovering the last remaining six pots.
Nursery nurse Brenda Gannon, 57, said: “I’ve been in here every day for the past two weeks, but it’s always been sold out. I’ve still to try it, but I’ve heard great things about the results from friends.
“And at £2.49 a jar you can’t really go wrong.”
Colleague Helen Sim, 48, said: “I heard about it on the radio and have looked out for it ever since. I’ve got sensitive skin, so I’ll try anything that might help.”
And it’s not just the ladies who are dying to try the magical cream.
Pensioner Ronnie Cramond said: “I’ve got quite dry skin and thought I’d give this a go. I know it’s normally used for baby’s bums, but if it works, especially at that price, I’ll be happy.
“Although, I can’t really believe all the fuss about it.”

The UK-wide shortage came as sales reached 30,000 tubs in the first part of this year, taking its Hampshire-based supplier completely by surprise.

The butter is free from artificial chemicals and contains olive oil, camomile – for nappy rash – and lavender.

Waitrose says it has seen sales of “natural” baby toiletries rise by 38 per cent after it removed parabens, petrochemicals and colours from its own-label products.

Jo Maclaine, Waitrose’s baby care buyer, said: “It seems that the botty butter gives softer cheeks wherever they are.
“The feedback we have had has been amazing and proof that looking good does not have to cost the Earth.”

Kitten sucked to safety by quick-thinking firemen 067

By Alexander Lawrie
A SIX hour-old kitten was saved from certain death after getting stuck in a kitchen pipe – when firemen used a vacuum cleaner to suck it to safety.
The newly-born puss quickly used up one of its nine lives after it had dropped down a drain, sending owner Claire Coutts into a panic.
But, the attending fire crew used Ms Coutts vacuum cleaner with a sock attached to suck the terrified mite out of his hiding place.
Firemen had rigged up an ultra-light fibre-optic camera to locate the cat but had trouble freeing it, before coming up with the idea of using the Hoover.
Ms Coutts, 26, of Dunbar, East Lothian, said: “I’ve not long had the mother (Alvin) and she went in behind the kitchen unit to have her kittens at about 4pm. A little while later I checked on them and the four kittens looked fine.
“But at around 11pm I checked again and could only see three of them. Alvin was sniffing about a pipe under the sink, and then I panicked when I heard the tiny cries.
“I was so distraught at the thought of this newly-born kitten dying under my floor.”
Ms Coutts immediately called the SSPCA but found their emergency service cuts off at 10pm. The fire brigade was next on the call list and arrived within an hour, late on Monday night.
The mum-of-three said: “The fire brigade were just great. They had to wait on another appliance arriving with the camera because their first idea was just to rip up the kitchen floor.
“I’d tried for ages to reach the kitten using my arm, but it was pointless because the wee soul had dropped down about three feet.
“They then decided to get the Hoover out and see if they could suck it out the hole. I put a sock over the end, stuck it down the hole and out it popped.
“I’ve never been so relieved.”
Crew manager Caroline Ellis, of Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The kitten’s mother had obviously made its bed there and went to give birth. By the time we got there the cat and its bed had been removed, so we’ve got no idea how the kitten got into the pipe.
“We decided that we were being a little too gentle, and after several frustrating tries we just jammed the nozzle into the pipe and got it as close to the cat’s head as we could.
“We switched the Hoover on and the cat just went ‘soooook!’ up into the nozzle. We knew it was in there because the Hoover was struggling, so we pulled it out and there it was at the end of the nozzle safe and well.”
Ms Coutts added: “I haven’t named any of the kittens yet, but I think this one will be called either Lucky or Sox. Both names seem suitable.”