The owner of a UK kennel where a badly neglected dog was dumped and left to die has said he is stunned and overwhelmed by an internet campaign set up to bring those responsible to justice.
A group on social networking site Facebook called Justice For Jack has attracted over 10,000 members from all over the world since his death. Jack was found by Brian Wheelhouse dumped in a blanket outside Whitehall kennels and rescue centre in Cave Lane, East Ardsley, on September 17. The dog had been severely neglected. He was emaciated, covered in sores and his claws were so long they had started to grow back into his paws and signs seemed to suggest that he had still been alive when he was abandoned at Whitehall.
Jack’s death was so horrific Mr Wheelhouse said it was the worst case he had seen in 20 years and it prompted him to come to the Observer & Advertiser in the hope the publicity may lead to the identification and punishment of those responsible. But since then the search for the culprits has gone global and the creators of the Facebook site, which is now attracting almost 1,000 people a day, are now trying to set up a reward for information leading to the conviction of the culprits. Hundreds of messages have been left on the site from as far away as Australia and the United States, candlelit vigils have been organised and one member has even written a song for Jack which she has posted in video form. There is now even talk of a peaceful demonstration in London to highlight not just Jack’s case but the plight of all abandoned and neglected dogs.
Mr Wheelhouse said he couldn’t believe the phenomenal response Jack’s story had prompted and said he hoped it would help catch the people responsible. “People have been getting in touch from the USA and Canada and I’m just hoping all this might get things moving in terms of catching someone.”
A substantial reward has now been offered for information which has been made possible thanks to donations from members of the Facebook group. “Someone does know something,” Mr Wheelhouse said. “It’s not working trying to get to someone’s conscience so maybe they’ll tell us something for money.
Posters are now being printed up which are being put in shops and cars across the area. One of the creators of Justice For Jack, Victoria Thomas, said she had set up the group with friend Alexa Smith in the hope that it might help trace Jack’s owners.
“We thought that if perhaps a couple of thousand joined it would be a huge help towards flushing out the person who did this to Jack,” she said. “In the space of a week we have almost 11,000 members from around the world and the figure is rising minute by minute. Given that this was a young dog of about a year old, who must have been starved for many weeks to be in the state he was in, surely someone is responsible for investigating this painful and needless death? The only clues so far are that Jack was left at Whitehall on an orange sheet or blanket…has anyone ever seen something like this, say on a washing line in someone’s garden? Did anyone see something being carried in this sheet or blanket very late at night? Did anyone see someone near the Whitehall Sanctuary in the early hours? Someone must know something.”
Mr Wheelhouse added that if one positive had come out of Jack’s death it was that the publicity had led to more people contacting Whitehall to adopt dogs, volunteer and donate. “It’s people that have seen the story in the Observer & Advertiser and seen the Facebook site. If just one good thing comes out of Jack’s death it’s that other dogs are going to be helped because of him.”