Londonderry demands greater protection for dogs and cats

Animal rights campaigners have protested in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, demanding tougher laws to deal with people convicted of animal cruelty.

They gathered outside the city's Guildhall, carrying placards that called for change and a banner that proclaimed 'Stop animal abuse - We are their voice'.

The protest was inspired by a recent case involving Luna, a three-year-old American bull terrier.

She was found last month at Ballyarnett Country Park, a popular place for young families.

Luna had been buried alive up to her neck, with a large piece of masonry placed on top of her head.

She had suffered multiple injuries including puncture wounds and fractures, and her wounds were so severe that she couldn't be saved by a vet and had to be humanely put down.

Her 29-year-old owner was subsequently arrested and charged with causing the dog unnecessary suffering.

That case is currently making its way through the courts.

The protesters met various political parties inside the Guildhall to press their call for the laws on animal cruelty to be tightened, with the group calling for anyone found guilty of cruelty to be permanently banned from owning pets.