Ferret attacked by dog at fair

Frank O'Neill with Nebula the Ferret's empty cage after she was attacked and killed.
Frank O'Neill with Nebula the Ferret's empty cage after she was attacked and killed.

A man and his teenage daughter were left horrified following the death of their pet ferret after it was attacked by a dog at a country show.

Frank O’Neill, of Laurel Park, Loftus, was devastated after Nebula, his ferret, died from injuries inflicted by a greyhound during Driffield Country Fair.

Nebula the ferret died after being attacked by a greyhound

Nebula the ferret died after being attacked by a greyhound

Mr O’Neill and his 13-year-old daughter Alice said the attack took place after they walked past a stall set up by the Bridlington branch of the Retired Greyhound Trust.

“It’s certainly usual to see a ferret on a lead,” said Mr O’Neill. “We were walking around and people were stopping and having a stroke of the ferret. We wandered around the corner and there was the Retired Greyhound Trust stall, with four people who all had a greyhound with them.”

To be on the safe side, Mr O’Neill picked up his ferret and carried her until she was out of site from the greyhounds.

“My daughter and I walked 20 metres past the stall and put the ferret down again.

“We carried on walking when we heard someone shout ‘oh my God!’ – one of the dogs was loose and, before we could do anything, it had Nebula in its mouth and was shaking it about.”

Mr O’Neill said his 13-year-old daughter watched on in horror as he and other bystanders struggled to free Nebula from the animal’s mouth.

“We went to the emergency people on the site, and I went back to the stall to see the owner to get their details. I wanted to explain there were going to be vet bills.”

But instead of receiving an apology, Mr O’Neill claims dog owners hurled a barrage of abuse at him, and blamed him and his daughter for the attack.

“I was then told that it was my fault for having a ferret as a pet.

“It’s ironic because there was a stall dealing with ferrets there.

“My 13-year-old was hysterical, and a man turned around and told her to shut up because ‘it was her fault’. I started getting very angry.”

Despite receiving vets’ treatment for a broken back, Nebula died at her home in Loftus on Wednesday.

“The dog should have been tethered and muzzled,” added Mr O’Neill.

“If it was another dog or a child there would have been hell-on. But because it’s a ferret they don’t care.

“There was no apology. They put the blame on us.”

Mr O’Neill said he tried contacting the Bridlington branch on Facebook, but was banned from their page.

A spokesperson for Driffield Country Fair confirmed the attack had taken place on the day.

They said: “We are aware that an incident had occurred, but as far as we know both the dog and ferret were on leads.”

But the Retired Greyhounds Trust have distanced themselves from the incident, saying they were not legally reponsible for the greyhound because it was not in their care.

A spokesperson said: “The Retired Greyhound Trust wishes to express its condolences to the owner of a pet ferret which was involved in a very unfortunate incident with a greyhound at the Driffield County Show.

“The greyhound was visiting the Retired Greyhound Trust’s local branch stand with its owner.

“It is not a greyhound in the care of the Retired Greyhound Trust and we are not legally 
liable for its actions, nor for the actions of its owner.

“We understand that the pet ferret, Neb, has sadly passed away and our sympathies are with the family at this difficult time.”