A grieving dog owner intends to take legal action against a kennels after returning from a family holiday to discover his pet had been fatally attacked.

Ben Bishop and his partner Nicola Cooke, from Saughall, left British bulldog Gucci and blue French bulldog Willow at Mickleton Kennels near Mickle Trafford while they visited Disney World in Florida with their three children.

But 12-month-old Willow was found dead in the kennel she was sharing with Gucci on the morning of October 26.

With no CCTV at the premises and Mr Bishop adamant that Gucci would not attack Willow, mystery surrounds how she died.

British bulldog Gucci
British bulldog Gucci

Mr Bishop, a bailiff, said that his family are ‘devastated’ by their loss and that his five-year-old daughter Summer, who named Willow, is ‘heartbroken’.

They brought her home when she was eight-weeks-old, having paid £2,500 for her.

Mr Bishop told the Chronicle that he feels ‘let down’ by what has happened and ‘absolutely 100%’ believes there should be CCTV in operation at the site.

He said: “The vet said that it was a vicious and prolonged attack.

“Her injuries were horrific. There is no CCTV evidence and there are no photos of the blood in the kennel.

“I know it’s gory but the first thing I would think is let’s get a picture, just so they can at least show the owner how the dog has been found.”

Mr Bishop insists that Gucci and Willow always got along well and there is ‘no chance’ that Gucci would have killed her.

He revealed that he is commencing legal action against the business, to recover Willow’s full value and the costs of the veterinary bills he has subsequently incurred.

'Terrible tragedy'

Jody and Rebecca Payne, owners of Mickleton Kennels, say there is nothing they could have done to prevent ‘this terrible tragedy’.

Mr Payne said they asked when the dogs were dropped off on October 16 whether they should be kennelled together, but their owners gave their consent and staff did not observe any problems between the two or with other dogs when they were being walked over the course of the week.

He explained all was fine when he checked on them at around 9pm on October 29, but it was his wife Rebecca who made the discovery at around 8.30am the following morning.

“She found Willow dead in the kennel with deep wounds to her legs, the kennel door was shut and only Gucci was in the kennel with her, no doors around the kennels had been broken into or any fencing cut,” he said.

He added he took the dogs to Flookersbrook Vets in Hoole, where Willow was pronounced dead and Gucci was treated for superficial bites to her head and legs.

Mr and Mrs Payne believe that Gucci was responsible for the attack.

“I have had a number of conversations with Mr Bishop since that day and he is clearly finding it difficult to believe that one of his beloved pets could do that to another and I feel for him and his family with all my heart,” he said.

“Unfortunately though, if two dogs are in a locked kennel and one of them in the morning is dead from bite wounds then the only possible conclusion I can draw is that they have fought and one has killed the other.

“This has been a terrible tragedy for all involved, but we have been taking good care of our customers’ pets for the last 25 years.”