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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

'The house is so empty without him': Derry family fear the worst after violent abduction of beloved dog

“He was a beat in our heart, a total soulmate.”

Image: Justice for Jack via Facebook

A FAMILY IN the Currynierin neighbourhood of Derry is considering moving house after the violent abduction of their beloved dog Jack over the weekend.

Brian Murray and his partner Lorraine left their home at Ridgeway Drive at around 4.30pm on Saturday evening, along with the couple’s three grandchildren.

When they returned “no more than 45 minutes later”, they discovered, to their horror, a patch of blood on the couch where they had left the family’s four and a half year old miniature Jack Russell.

A trail of blood led from the living room, through the kitchen, out the back door, and down a nearby alleyway.

All their possessions – including flatscreen TVs and a mobile phone – remained in place, untouched.

But Jack was gone.

“We’re trying to pull ourselves together,” Murray told today.

The house is just so empty without him. We’re even thinking of moving.
It feels like someone has taken our child – Jack wasn’t a pet, he was a person. He was a part of this family.
It’s just beyond awful.

While the family doesn’t know what motivated the attack and abduction, they are certain that burglary wasn’t involved, because nothing was taken apart from Jack, and everything else was in place when they returned to their home.

“This was calculated and done to get Jack and hurt him,” Murray says.

The family is enduring an agonising wait for news from police, who are investigating Jack’s disappearance.

But they have been taking steps to give themselves closure, however tragic.

“We’re resigned to the fact that he’s gone,” says Murray.

But we want to give him some dignity. We want to show him the same respect that he showed us.
We’ve been out searching, in places where someone might have dumped him. On Saturday, all day Sunday, all day Monday.

Lorraine’s sister has also set up a Facebook page, “Justice for Jack“, to highlight the family’s ordeal.

The aftermath of Jack’s abduction has been devastating for the family.

After the PSNI – whom Murray praises for their handling of the case – took forensic evidence from the house on Saturday, there was the horrible task of cleaning the blood off their couch.

derry The location of the family's home at Ridgeway Drive in Derry.

Then, there has been the heartbreak of trying to keep the awful truth from their two-year-old granddaughter, who has a special relationship with Jack, and was “brought up with him.”

She has been asking for Jack and looking around the house for him since Saturday evening, Murray says.

This morning, she saw his face on the cover of a local newspaper in the house, said “There’s Jack”, and kissed the newspaper, Murray says.

Lorraine, Murray’s partner of 23 years, is “in shreds” as she waits for confirmation of the family’s worst fears.

I’m trying to hold it all in, because I have to be a man, but Lorraine is in shreds.When she was ill last year, Jack could tell. He understood, and was so gentle with her, it was unbelievable.

The two of them were attached at the hip.

Writing on Facebook to thank well-wishers for their support, Murray summed up the family’s devastation at the loss of Jack:

Nearly 48 hours without sleep. Our Jack wasn’t a dog or a pet, he was part of us. A beat in our heart, a total soulmate.
They say silence is golden, but at this moment in our life it is heartbreaking.

Police at Strand Road in Derry are investigating the disappearance of Jack, and have invited members of the public who may have relevant information to call the PSNI non-emergency number 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Read: ‘In my 23 years as a dog warden, I’ve never seen such a horrendous act of animal cruelty’>

Bereaved pet owners “should be entitled to compassionate leave”>

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About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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