On the morning of Sunday 9th January 2011, Frances Crowe awoke to a phone call that would change everything in her life. She received the news that her fifty-one year old brother, Maurice Sullivan, had been mauled to death by two pit bull-cross dogs, while working on a farm with his partner in Malaysia.
Maurice grew up in the Ferrybank area of Waterford City, but had been living and working in the Galway area in recent years. He was a talented craftsman and was well known in the west of Ireland for his carpentry and furniture restoration skills.
Maurice moved to Malaysia in August 2010 to build a traditional wooden house for a Malaysian friend who he had met in Galway.
While travelling over there, Maurice and his partner Agnieszka Jablonska were hoping to gain skills in sustainable building from natural materials, as well as learning about organic farming and permaculture.
Just after the New Year, Maurice took a break from the build. He and Agnieszka answered an advertisement on a website containing a list of farms where volunteer helpers from around the world are invited to work in exchange for food and accommodation.
On 8th of January, they travelled to Teluk Bahang on the northwest tip of Penang Island, where they were due to start work on an organic farm owned by Joseph and Beatrice Teoh. That Saturday night, they ate dinner with the couple and met their four dogs - Kang, Yin, Ning and Li.
Maurice was planting trees on the farm the next morning when he was fatally mauled by two of the Teoh's dogs. Agnieszka helplessly witnessed the attack.
On the day that Maurice died, Agnieszka was promised that the dogs would be put down within ten days. Six months later, they were still alive. The attack, the plight of the dogs, and the legal fighting that followed have since been making headlines in the Malaysian media.
This is the story of Maurice's life and death as we trace his footsteps before that fateful morning, and how his family have struggled over the past year to get the dogs involved in the fatal attack put down.
Narrated by Ger Murphy
Report in Malaysia by Terry Friel
Produced by Sarah Blake
Sound Supervision by Damien Chennells
First broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on Saturday 17th September 2011 @ 6pm
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.