By Shirley Higgins-Croft: Journalist. Wife. Dog-Mother
As a dog-lover myself, it is hard to report on the events at Smithfield yesterday, so please forgive any sentimentality.
It was a heartbreakingly sombre scene at the YAPS ballroom and conference centre. Some three thousand grieving dogs and their carers attended a memorial service to pay tribute to their thirteen fallen friends.
The so-called Kewarra Thirteen were a half-motely group of pooches that lost their lives during and after a dog-riot some two weeks ago during the Cairns Pets community walkies at Kewarra Beach. The details surrounding these deaths is still shrouded in doubt and controversy, and probably sub-judice. Investigations are ongoing.
What is known is that some of the animals were executed after being pronounced guilty of incitement to cause a riot, and others were euthanized after receiving a range of horrific crush injuries resulting from the confluence of dog-flesh, palm trees and the deep blue sea.
At the YAPS memorial service, Cairns Police were in full force to ensure the tightest security was applied. Included in their number was Assistant Commissioner Douglas Camm OA. When I asked about the allegations that the riot had been instigated by dog-hate-groups, Commissioner Camm said he was unable to comment on an ongoing investigation. Despite questions burning in my mind, I was mindful of his own loss – a perky Foxy named Janet – and respected his silence. What more could I do?
It was a solemn but carefree event. Following fun games of fetch and frisbee the dogs were entertained by popular tribute band The TayTays. There was a chocolate fountain. And Cowboys forward Ethan Lowe handed out samples of his popular schmackos doggie-treat.
Later, at the Royal Redlynch Pet Cemetery, the aromatic tributes flowed as each dog was brought to the open grave and allowed to express their emotions in their own particular way. It was tear-filled sight that was at times hard to bear, hard to watch, hard to smell.
The Kewarra Thirteen are gone now, but we may well learn from their absence.
Woof to the K13. Woof woof.