OPINION: The story of Bonzo that's broken my heart | TeamDogs
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OPINION: The story of Bonzo that's broken my heart

Jilly Beattie asks how anybody could hurt a dog

Hannah Jones

Posted 2 months ago


OPINION PIECE: By Jilly Beattie


My blood is boiling, my eyes are brimming with tears and my heart is sore.

I have seen an image of a little dog lying lifeless on a vet’s examination table, the innocent victim of a brute and his enabler.

I wanted to look away, I wanted to steer clear of the awful details, but as a decent human being, as a person with a passion for dogs and animal welfare, I had to accept my place in this equation, I had to look, I had to try to understand.

What I saw was utterly pathetic; Bonzo a crossbreed dog, curly grey hair, finely built, lying prone, lifeless, innocent of any wrongdoing, undeserving of the pain and trauma forced upon him.

Anger rose in me as I realised this poor pet had been repeatedly used as a punchbag by a bully, a man I can only think of as a monster.

At 18 stones, Andrew MacKay, had taken on the responsibility for the welfare of Bonzo, but instead he created hell for the little dog, he created fear, pain, anguish and suffering - and then lied about his actions.

He claimed his dog had been the unfortunate victim of his repeated clumsiness when in fact he had been abusing Bonzo.

Disturbingly, investigations revealed that Bonzo had suffered at least 25 rib fractures, a fractured eye socket fracture, a cheek fracture, ruptured trachea and injuries to face - injuries sustained on four separate occasions.

I read that line again and again, each time through more tears.

What causes a grown man to abuse and batter another being, a defenceless dog, a loyal little pet?

What goes through the mind of anyone who smashes a dog up and then takes them to the vet, admitting accidentally causing the injuries but taking no responsibility for the truth?

What creates such fury and anger, bullying and loathing and what makes anyone assume it’s ok even in a split second to take it out on a dog?


Further investigations later revealed that in total Bonzo had suffered at least 25 rib fractures, an eye socket fracture, a cheek fracture, ruptured trachea and injuries to face ( Credit: Simon Galloway/SWNS)


Having had dogs in my life all of my days, I know the joy they bring, but I understand too the daily frustrations, the work, the two steps forward, four steps back with training, the big determined personalities, the stubbornness and at times the destruction of once precious things.

I understand the routine that no matter what other pressures I'm facing, the dogs will need to be exercised, groomed, fed, cared for, understood, loved and kept safe.

I understand the mess and the stink, the hairs and all that goes with big active dogs that are permitted to behave like dogs.

But not once have I lifted my hand to any one of them.

Not once have I pummelled them, battered them or screeched at them and not once has it crossed my mind that they deserved to have their bones smashed up with a hammer.

So as I sit here trying to work out the mind of the monster who did this to little Bonzo, as I wonder how he feels today, I know I have failed.

I have failed to understand how anyone could do this.

I have failed to work out how to prevent it from happening to another stranger’s dog.

And I have failed to protect the innocent Bonzo who I know looked only for love.

How odd it is that as a journalist with 30 years' experience, educated to the hilt, privileged in job and home life, that I cannot find a way through this except to label MacKay as a monster.

But that in effect excuses his behaviour, which I cannot and will not do - so I’m at a loss.

Yet, little Bonzo has done what I’d love to have done.

The little dog who was beaten and abused has managed to have his abuser punished from beyond the grave.

His hurt, pain and injuries have acted as evidence to ensure a jail term for MacKay and a suspended sentence for his partner Nicole Logan, but it cost him his life.

These people are not my people. I cannot understand how they are anyone’s people.

MacKay is serving an 18-week jail term and has been banned from keeping all animals for 10 years and ordered to pay £2,000 costs and a £128 victim surcharge.

Logan was given a 12-week prison term suspended for 12 months and was banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.

By today’s standards, this has been an excellent result thanks to a good investigation and swift and sure court action.

For me though, it’s not enough.

My heart’s still sore, my mind searching for peace, haunted by the pain I know little Bonzo suffered.

The best I can hope for is that the monsters who would take out their anger and frustration on innocents will think again, stop and step back, if only to protect themselves.

MacKay understood he was doing wrong because he tried to cover it up.

Maybe jail time will give him enough space to seek the help he needs to bring himself back to humanity.

Am I hopeful? 

No. No, I’m not.

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