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Jess's Story
It never fails to amaze and disgust us when we hear about the way some humans treat dogs. It's not just the way their cruelty affects the dog victim, its the suffering it also causes to the humans that cared for that dog. It seems that some folk are weak, callous and generally nasty minded specimens and not really fit to be called human. Yet these humans have 'rights' and the dogs don't. Where's the justice.
Jess, the dog victim in this story, seems to have fallen foul of a real idiot. It makes you wonder why - was it some sort of entertainment for the youth involved or was it a a plan to make money that went wrong when the age of the dog was realised.
Read Jess's story and weep. Weep because she was the victim of a sicko. Weep for the loss her owners felt and the horror they must feel when they think about what happened to her. Weep for the world that we live in, a world where this can happen. Maybe spare a tear for the perpetrator who has got to be a pretty sorry specimen and a lost cause.
Information below reproduced by permission of reporter Margaret Heyward on behalf of the Spenborough guardian

POLICE are hunting a cruel thief after a Border Collie snatched from outside Tesco was later found dead in a beck by Mann Dam.

Twelve-year-old Jess, who suffered with arthritis, had been left tethered outside the Cleckheaton shop while her 77-year-old owner was doing his shopping. When he came out, Jess had vanished, and he alerted the police.
CCTV footage showed a white male in his late teens to early 20s,slim and with short brown hair, wearing a dark thin jacket with a motif on the left chest area, white t-shirt underneath, blue jeans and white trainers running down Cheapside with Jess.
The dog was later found dead in the beck but police believe she did not get into the water of her own will.

Anyone with information should contact the Spen Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team at Cleckheaton on 01924 295357 or anonymously via CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111.


THE brutal killing of Jess has appalled Spen folk - and prompted one dog owner to set up a reward fund for the conviction of the youth responsible.

Businessman Francis Fawcett has started it off with a donation himself, and is now inviting other members of the public to add contributions.  "I'm a pretty hard bloke, but I was so upset when I heard what happened I couldn't sleep," he said. "I used to see Jess and her owner on the Greenway when I was walking my dogs, and you just can't believe someone can do something like this. It's absolutely scandalous. "Everybody is talking about it and they all think it's appalling - one woman I spoke to was even crying. "If someone has the mentality to do such an horrific thing, then you have to wonder if they will go on to do something even worse."

Mr Fawcett hopes a reward will encourage someone to come forward with information about the killing. "He will probably have bragged about it to someone," he said.

Anyone who wants to contribute to the reward fund can hand donations in sealed envelopes to the Spenborough Guardian office at 1 Market Street, Cleckheaton.



STAGGERING - that's how the organiser of a reward fund set up to find the killer of Jess the dog summed up the reaction of Spen folk this week.

Horrified by the tragic tale of how Jess was snatched from outside Tesco and then dumped in Spen Beck, businessman Francis Fawcett set up the fund and invited others to contribute.  The Spenborough Guardian, which ran the story last week, co-ordinated the appeal and by Wednesday donations at our Market Street office had reached 620. Another 2,100 had been pledged by people from all over Yorkshire who had seen the story on television.

Jess, a 12-year-old border collie who suffered with arthritis, had been left tied outside Tesco on Thursday January 15, while her owner, 77-year-old Ronald Bisby, popped in to do some shopping. When he returned, she had vanished.  Mr Bisby, his family, friends and neighbours spent hours searching for her, but three days later police found her dead in the beck. Her injuries were consistent with a high fall.

Jess's story has touched people across the country - a Facebook group set up by Debbi Nori from Goole to try and catch the culprit, has so far attracted 11,500 members. Debbi said: "My initial intention was to reach people of Cleckheaton but people from across the country have become members - we've even got members from America and Bulgaria.
"We have set up a memorial fund and hope to raise enough money to buy a plaque in Jess's memory. On Saturday I made a poster and over 100 people from Cleckheaton emailed me requesting a copy. It's incredible.
Among the donors are Spenborough Chamber of Trade which has given 100 and the Talbot pub in Cleckheaton with 150.
Chamber president Keith Joplin, who also has a border collie, said: "This happened in our town centre. If, as traders, we can help to bring a conclusion and catch the person responsible, then we're happy to contribute."

Talbot landlord Ronan Munnelly keeps rottweillers and says many of his customers are dog owners.
They were so appalled by what happened they held pool events, domino cards and raffles over the weekend to raise money. They even raffled a bottle of brandy specially commissioned to mark the final voyage of the QE2 which had been donated by a regular.
Staff at Aura hair salon in Railway Street donated their tips, shops including Tesco have held collections and residents at an elderly folks' home had a whip-round.  Members of the public, many in tears, called into the Guardian office in person to hand over donations and pass on messages of support to the Bisbys.
Mr Fawcett said: "I wasn't going to sit back and do nothing, and the response has been staggering. The community should give itself a huge pat on the back because it has banded together for the elderly and their pets. This could be the start of something good for Cleckheaton, it has really united the community."

Mr Bisby said he and his wife had been touched by people's kindness.  "We can't move for flowers and cards," he said. "People are continually coming up and offering their commiserations. It's such a big loss - you get up in the morning and go downstairs expecting to see her there wagging her tail, but there's just this void. "But people's kindness has been such a comfort to us and we'd like to thank everyone for their good wishes and for donating to the fund. The police have also been fantastic, coming to see us every day."

Officers are still appealing for witnesses, particularly anyone who was in Cheapside or Bradford Road going towards the town hall after 6.20pm and who may have seen a man with a border collie. Anyone with information should contact the Spen Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team at Cleckheaton on 01924 295357 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. On Tuesday officers arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with the incident and he has since been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

* If the reward money already donated is unclaimed, it will be given to dog rescue charities.

Story covered by Margaret Heward -

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Border Collie Rescue is a UK based charity, working Internationally to Rescue and Re-home Border Collies and Working Sheepdogs and promote a better understanding of the breed and its Welfare.

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