Grantham couple ‘vilified’ by Facebook users as cruel to their pet dog

Linda and Cecil Doughty with Mia the dog.
Linda and Cecil Doughty with Mia the dog.
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Branded cruel to animals in unjust attacks on Facebook, a devastated couple have spoken out in a bid to clear their name.

Pensioners Cecil and Bridget Doughty were horrified when a picture appeared on the site of their grandson’s dog Mia, whom they look after in the week, standing on the parcel shelf of their car. It was accompanied by countless comments calling them cruel.

People on Facebook said we shouldn’t be allowed to have animals

Linda Doughty

The woman who posted the image – clearly showing the couple’s car registration plate – claimed the dog was distressed and should not have been left in the car on a “hot day”.

The picture was taken last Tuesday, which weather records show reached temperatures of just 11C, after Mr Doughty, 77, had taken his wife to work at Mark Jarvis in Market Place, and then popped into Coral bookmakers in Westgate for half-an-hour.

He left Mia in her favourite spot, laying on the back seat of the car. But, being territorial, she has a habit of barking and “going wappy” at passers-by if they get too close.

That was enough to concern the woman who took the photo and posted it online.

Upset, Mrs Doughty, 66, said: “We were vilified. People were on Facebook saying we shouldn’t be allowed to have animals. They were vicious.

“I couldn’t believe it. Somebody said we obviously worked there and left her in the car all day. They say all that but don’t know the facts!”

Although the post has now been removed from Facebook, they believe the damage has been done and their name sullied.

Mrs Doughty in particular was left distraught by the comments made.

She said: “We don’t take her in the summer because it’s too hot. We’re not stupid; we’ve had pets for 40 years and our dogs have been from rescue homes. We are hard-working, respectful people who contribute to animal charities, not the kind of people they made us out to be.”

Users should think twice before making callous comments on Facebook, believe the husband and wife, who live in Turnor Crescent.

Mrs Doughty said: “I’ve read reports in the press where kids have killed themselves because of bullying on Facebook and I’ve always thought it silly. But it really is terrible and I can now understand why they do it.”