Woman killed by her own dogs treated them ‘like her babies’

23-year-old Nicole Morey. Photo: Facebook.

THE TRAGIC 23 year old woman who was killed in an attack by her own dogs, treated the animals “like her own babies,” her uncle says.

And prayers were said in Limerick today (Wednesday, June 5) for 23-year-old Nicole O’Donnell Morey, died at the scene in the early hours of Wednesday, just hours after celebrating her birthday.

Ms Morey, originally from Limerick City, died after being attacked by at least one dog.

Speaking by telephone from Spain where he was on holidays, Ms Morey’s granduncle, Anthony O’Donnell, 58, said distressed family members telephoned him and delivered the shocking news.

“She was out for her birthday, she was 23, and, she went home, opened the hall door to go in home when the dog attacked her, jumped out on top of her and attacked her,” Mr O’Donnell said.

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“By the time the Gardai got there, they (the dogs) were mauling her, the gardai couldn’t really get them off of her, they had to shoot the dog to get him off of her, that’s what I’m hearing from family members that are ringing me,” he said.

Paying tribute, Mr O’Doennle described his grandniece as “a lovely girl, with a great heart, would do you a good turn rather than any turn”.

“She was a decent girl, quiet, she kept to herself.”

Mr O’Donnell said two young women who were staying in the same hotel as him in Spain told him his deceased grandniece was well known for posting photos of herself and the dogs on social media.

“There’s two young girls here and they know her and they said she used to treat them (the dogs) like babies,” he said.

“They said she used to have Snapchats up and Facebook (posts) with the dogs inside in bed with her, that they were like her children.”

“I said to them this morning it just goes to show you cant trust dogs. You cant trust any dog, but especially those dogs they are bred to kill.”

It’s reported the dog that killed Ms Morey was a American XL Bully, however Gardai had not disclosed what type of dogs were involved.

Armed Gardaí responded to the house shortly before midnight Tuesday, and upon encountering a number of aggressive dogs, they destroyed one and restrained three more.

It is believed that one or all of the dogs were on a restricted dog breeding list that requires dogs on that list to be muzzled.

Several hours before the fatal dog attack on Ms Morey, Gardaí had issued local media in Limerick with an alert about dog attacks and highlighted how a nine year old boy received “facial injuries” in a dog attack in Limerick City, last week, on May 29.

In that advisory notice to the media, Sergeant Ber Leetch, Crime Prevention officer, Henry Street Garda Station, Limerick, warned people to “protect your dog but also protect any people it may come in contact with”.

Ms Morey died at this scene despite the best efforts of paramedics who treated her there.

Her body was removed to University Hospital Limerick where a post mortem was to be carried out.

Gardaí issued a media alert asking people not to engage in sharing a video linked to the fatal incident with others online.

“An Garda Síochána is aware of footage of this incident in circulation and out of respect for the deceased, would ask the public and the media not to share these videos,” the statement read.

Family friend, Fr Richard Davern, St Mary’s parish, Limerick City, led prayers at St Mary’s Church, Athlunkard, Limerick, in memory of the deceased.

“We prayed for the poor woman at mass this morning, I buried her grandfather Pa O’Donnell only last February, they are a lovely family from St Mary’s Park,” Fr Davern said.

The Limerick parish priest said the family were well know in community and sporting circles and that Ms Morey’s granduncle, Anthony O’Donnell, was awarded the title of Community Volunteer of the Year at the All-Ireland Community and Council Awards, held last March.

“There are no words to really describe the absolute horror of this. God love them,” Fr Davern said.

“Everyone is just shocked, it’s horrific, absolutely horrific,” he continued.

“I spoke to one of her former school teachers this morning and they said (Nicole) had a lovely personality.”

“They said she had ambitions to go back to college and train as a SNA (Special Needs Assistant) and into education, so she had ambitions, the poor girl, God love her, and God love all the first responders and emergency services worker who came upon it and have to deal with the fallout of it.”

Gardaí attached to the Garda Scenes of Crime Unit combed areas outside and inside the house today.

Local Gardaí had sealed off an entrance gate at the house as well as access to a boreen running alongside the property.

The large two-storey house located on a country road between the villages of Ballyneety and Fedamore, is situated about 18km from Limerick City.

Locals in the idyllic rural hinterland which was plunged into a nightmare also expressed their “shock”.

Relatives and friends shared tributes and photos of Ms Morey on social media.

Ms Morey’s sister, Jolene, wrote on Facebook: “My heart is shattered once again…I only hung up on you two seconds before. I really tried my best to help, I’m so sorry Nicole, I love you so much, it feels like a bad dream.”

“I’m so heartbroken on the day of your birthday I love you,” she added.

Another said Ms Morey had been “taken so tragically on (her) birthday”.

“My heart is broken, God only takes the best and you were definitely one of them, love your soul little lady, rest in eternal peace,” they added.

Another friend described Ms Morey as “a beautiful soul with the biggest heart”.

“You didn’t deserve to go, Rest In Peace perfect Nicole, may you get the best bed in heaven, thinking of all your family,” they added.

Family and friends said they were planning an event in Limerick on Thursday night where purple and yellow balloons would be released in Ms Morey’s memory.

Relatives described Ms Morey as “the most kindest woman in this world”.

“You got taken away too early from everyone, soundest cousin I ever had R.I.P.”

A previous post which appeared on Ms Morey’s Facebook page read: “And now they’re all painted the same, annoys me”, in response to a story posted on the Irish Daily Mirror Facebook page which carried information about a “long list of dogs that must be muzzled and leashed in pubic”.

The article shared on Ms Morey’s page carried the headline “List of restricted dogs in Ireland following gruesome Wexford attack” – a story that highlighted an incident in November 2022 in which a young boy was attacked and seriously injured by a pit bull dog which was destroyed afterwards.

A Garda spokesman said Gardaí responded to the house where Ms Morey was attacked at around 11.40pm, Tuesday night after “Gardaí received report and attended an incident where a woman (23) was fatally injured following a dog attack”.

“Gardaí from the Regional Armed Support Unit attended and during the course of making the scene safe, encountered a number of aggressive dogs on the property. One dog was destroyed and three dogs were restrained by Gardaí, the three dogs have been seized by the Dog Warden.”

“A women, aged in her 20s, was treated by paramedics and succumbed to her injuries at the scene. Her body has been removed to University Hospital, Limerick where a post mortem examination will take place.”

“The local coroner has been notified. The scene is being held for a technical examination.”

Appealing for information, the Garda spokesman said: “Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Roxboro Road Garda Station on (061) 214 340, the Garda Confidential line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.”

In her earlier warning, Sgt Leetch said “there are rules that must be followed, restricted breeds of dogs must wear a muzzle in public, be on a short lead, wear a collar with owners’ information on it and the person controlling the dog must be over 16 years of age.”

“A dog in the city centre bit a nine-year-old boy last Wednesday, 29 May, at 20.30 in the evening, and the boy had to go to hospital to be treated for facial injuries. Nobody wants this to happen so be responsible for your dog,” she had warned.