Family left heartbroken after beloved dog fatally attacked in Ipswich park

Poppy was killed by a dog more than twice her size in Newbury Road Dog Park. Picture: TERESA MERIFIE

Poppy was killed by a dog more than twice her size in Newbury Road Dog Park. Picture: TERESA MERIFIELD - Credit: Archant

The owners of a “sweet and happy” Jack Russell cross have been left devastated after their dog was attacked and killed in an Ipswich park.

Poppy and Monty cuddled up together in bed. Picture: TERESA MERIFIELD

Poppy and Monty cuddled up together in bed. Picture: TERESA MERIFIELD - Credit: Archant

Teresa Merifield, from Ipswich, described how her beloved 12-year-old dog Poppy was brutally attacked by a Whippet cross more than twice her size, leaving her with fatal wounds.

The incident happened on Wednesday, March 21 in Newbury Road Dog Park, which borders a popular children’s play area.

Mrs Merifield said: “My small dog was usually quite bossy and not scared of anything.

“This dog came up and sniffed her but she didn’t want to play – she just pushed it away with her nose.”


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Initially, the bigger dog bounded off back to its owners. However in a seemlingly unprovoked fit of rage, it returned and seized Poppy in its jaws.

“When I saw it coming up a second time I wasn’t worried,” Mrs Merifield continued.

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“It just came running towards her. The next minute it had her neck in its jaws.

“I didn’t know what to do.”

While the owners tried to get the dog to stop, Mrs Merified felt completely helpless. Eventually Poppy was freed, but she was bleeding heavily.

Poppy loved to sit on the back of her friend, Monty. Picture: TERESA MERIFIELD

Poppy loved to sit on the back of her friend, Monty. Picture: TERESA MERIFIELD - Credit: Archant

Mrs Merifield added: “I picked her up and a man who had been in the park before me asked what had happened.”

She said she heard the dog’s owner say: “It can’t have been as socialised as we thought.”

The man kindly offered to drive Mrs Merifield and Poppy to the vets, where she was initially given hope.

“They thought she would be fine,” she said.

“She had two massive puncture wounds – one at the top [of her neck] and one at the bottom, and she was having trouble breathing.

“There were several other little wounds, and she was covered in blood.

“Every time she got a bit excited she would start having trouble with breathing, so she was put on oxygen every now and then.”

Poppy was given anti-inflammatory drugs for her injuries and sent to a veterninary clinic in Woodbridge to be treated overnight. She remained in the care of vets from Wednesday until the following Monday, March 26.

It was at this point that it was decided the kindest thing to do for Poppy would be to put her down.

Mrs Merifield decided to take the case to the police, as she was concerned the dog in question may harm other animals, or even children.

However a spokesperson for Suffolk police said they would not be investigating because a dog attacking another dog is considered a civil and not a criminal matter, according to Section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871.

Mrs Merifield was particuarly concerned because she suspected the animal may still be in the area.

“Last night my husband came rushing in saying he thought he’d seen the dog,” she added.

Poppy’s family were heartbroken, and wanted to pay tribute to their beloved pet.

Mrs Merifield said: “She was just so sweet and happy. She made us laugh with her antics.

“She could be grumpy and give me a real dirty look if her blanket wasn’t in the right place. I had an old blanket that I had to chuck out and she was so cross about that for ages.

“When the sun was out she used to go and bake herself in the sun.

Poppy was also very fond of the family’s black labrador Monty, who sadly died 18 months ago.

“She would get in bed with him. She sat on the top of his back all the time,” Mrs Merifield added.

“She didn’t deserve what happened to her. She wasn’t any trouble.”

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