Case Snapshot
Case ID: 14857
Classification: Beating, Kicking/Stomping
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
More cases in EN
Abuse was retaliation against animal's bad behavior
Drugs or alcohol involved
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Prosecutor(s): David McCormick
Defense(s): Martin Pizzey

Wednesday, Apr 2, 2008

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: John Martell

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A dog owner who punched, kicked and stamped on his Staffordshire bull terrier in a fit of temper is facing jail.

John Martell, 40, lashed out at the dog in a lift at Mulberry Court flats, Salford, where he lives.

The attack, in April, was seen by a security guard who recorded it on CCTV and called the police. They contacted the RSPCA.

Martell pleaded guilty at Salford Magistrates Court to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by causing it physical torment.

He will be sentenced on November 4. Magistrates have warned him they are considering a 12-week jail term.

David McCormick, prosecuting, said RSPCA officers went to the flat with police and confiscated the dog.

He said: "The defendant appeared to be under the influence of drink. He said he had slapped the dog because it had urinated in the lift."

Martell buried his head in his hands as magistrates were shown the shocking footage, in which he appears to stagger before he punches, kicks and stamps on the dog several times. He then drags the dog out of the lift by its lead.

Martin Pizzey, defending, said unemployed Martell, who had alcohol problems, had been arguing with his girlfriend and had gone out with the dog for some fresh air.

Martell became angry because the dog jumped up at a child and because it had 'relieved itself' indoors, which was 'the final straw'.

Martell told the court: "I wasn't having a good day. I was having a really bad day, in fact."

He said the dog was 'his life' and added: "If I get sent away I won't be home for Christmas. I've got a baby daughter."

He was released on bail on condition he does not own or keep any animal.

RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde said after the hearing: "This was one of the worst unprovoked attacks on an animal that I've seen."

The dog, Maddison, 18 months old, wasn't seriously hurt in the attack. It is now in kennels waiting to be re-homed.

Case Updates

A man who kicked, punched and stamped on his dog because he was having `a really bad day' has been jailed for 12 weeks.

John Martell, 40, was also banned from ever keeping or owning another animal as a result of the brutal attack, which was captured on CCTV.

Salford magistrates told him they would have given him a stiffer punishment if they were not restrained by sentencing guidelines.

Martell had entered the lobby of the flats with the 18-month-old bull terrier, called Madison, on a lead. He was then seen to kick it as he waited for the lift. He continued to punch, kick and stamp on it.

A security guard caught the assault on CCTV and alerted police and the RSPCA. When officers went to Martell's flat he was clearly under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

David McCormick, prosecuting, said the attack was one of 'wanton, mindless cruelty'.

"This was an unprovoked and sustained attack on an animal which offered no aggression or resistance. The dog clearly suffered a great deal of pain, and we cannot gauge the mental effect."

Martell claimed he had only slapped the dog because it had urinated and defecated on his bed, but later admitted that he knew what he had done was wrong, knew there had been no justification for his actions, and said he felt 'gutted'.

When Martell pleaded guilty to causing suffering to the animal at a previous hearing, he told the court: "I wasn't having a good day. I was having a really bad day, in fact."

His lawyer Martin Pizzey told magistrates: "He bitterly regrets what he did and wishes he had never done it. This was not a case of abuse over a lengthy period, and the pet was in general terms a healthy and contented animal that he had looked after well for some time."

Mr Pizzey told the bench that Martell's first appearance in court had attracted considerable publicity, and he had twice been attacked as a result. He said: "He clearly has a problem with stress in his life that he tries to cope with by drinking. He's in need of help."

RSPCA chief inspector Cathy Hyde said after the hearing: "This was one of the worst unprovoked attacks on an animal that I've seen. We are pleased at the serious way in which the magistrates dealt with this case, and it sends out a clear message that such abuse will not be tolerated."

The RSPCA said Madison has made a good recovery.
Source: Manchester Evening News - Nov 7, 2008
Update posted on Nov 7, 2008 - 1:02PM 


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