Dog killing: Sheffield pet was my ‘saviour’, says owner

Dog owner: Andy McNamara, owner of Issac, who was tortured and burned to death.

Dog owner: Andy McNamara, owner of Issac, who was tortured and burned to death.

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THE lovable Staffie who was stolen, tortured and set on fire in Sheffield was described today by his heartbroken owner as a ‘saviour’ who helped get his life back on track after he suffered a mental breakdown.

Tearful Andy McNamara, aged 44, said the white and sand terrier was ‘more than just a dog’ to him and had been bought by his parents to nurse him back to health.

Single man Andy, a self- employed electrician, told The Star: “The person who has done this has no idea just how many lives they have turned upside down.

“What that person has done is barbaric.

“I hope the police catch them and they get what they deserve.”

Andy said his parents bought Issac for him as a companion in his darkest days.

“I was agoraphobic and couldn’t leave the house,” he said.

“He was my saviour when I was at my lowest point.

“He got me out and about as I had to walk him.

“He wasn’t just a dog to me, he saved my life and he was like my little brother.

“He was my best mate, without a shadow of a doubt.”

Andy had left Issac with friend Rachelle Bannister-Hind, from Arbourthorne, Sheffield, because he was working in the north-east – away from his home in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham. But while Rachelle was at a party on Friday night Issac was taken from her garden in Skye Edge.

His charred body was discovered on a path off Manor Laith Road, Skye Edge, over the weekend.

The attack has sparked an outcry from animal lovers all over the country voicing their disgust.

Andy said when Rachelle told him the dog had been stolen his ‘worst fear was that he had been taken for dog fighting’.

But he added: “When I got the phone call to tell me what had actually happened, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“I was just distraught. This has absolutely broken my heart.”

Andy said he was too upset to go home without Issac and planned to stay with friends when his contract work came to an end.

He said: “Issac was everything to me.

“He was at my flat more than I was, I can’t go back to those four walls without him.”

Andy also thanked Star readers and the residents of Sheffield for their support and pledges of cash to catch the person responsible for the horrific attack.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from everyone,” Andy added. “Everyone has been so kind and I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

He asked anyone wanting to pledge money to donate it to the RSPCA to tackle animal cruelty.

“I know it won’t put a stop to it but if anyone wants to help, that’s the best thing they can do.”

* A 28-year-old man was arrested on Monday on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and released on bail.