Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17909
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
More cases in EN
Abuse was retaliation against animal's bad behavior
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Sunday, Aug 22, 2010

Disposition: Dismissed (Conditional)

Person of Interest: David Nicholls

A 53-YEAR-OLD abandoned his dog by leaving it tied to a park bench after neighbors complained about its barking.

David Nicholls, of Magdalen Road, Blurton, had only owned his Staffordshire Bull Terrier Buster three weeks when he left it in the heat in Queen's Park, in Longton, in August last year.

He was handed a two-year conditional discharge at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court yesterday.

The court heard that Nicholls bought the dog from a man in a pub.

He had planned for it to stay in the house he shares with his mother, and her elderly and blind dog, but the two pets did not get on.

The new dog ended up being kept outside but neighbors soon started complaining about its barking.

A member of the public found the dog tied to a bench, with a note attached, on August 22.

Concerns were made about its health because of two 5cm wounds on its face made by a muzzle.

Andrew Meachin, prosecuting, said: "There were a couple of fresh, raw marks on his nose which were very sore."

An RSPCA inspector was called and the dog was taken to Hope Veterinary Surgery, at Trentham Lakes.

Vet Deborah Wragg said during her inspection that the muzzle used was only suitable for temporary restraint and didn't allow for panting, drinking or vomiting.

The wounds were also infected.

Mr Meachin added: "It was her professional opinion the dog had been suffering for two days."

It is thought the dog had been tied to the bench for up to five hours.

Nicholls had already pleaded guilty to three cruelty offenses and a count of causing unfair suffering before yesterday's sentencing.

Emma Meredith, representing Nicholls, said he has a history of mental health issues and did not understand how the dog would suffer but has shown genuine remorse for what he did.

She said: "He did not feel able to ask anyone else for help and that backs on to his mental health history."

Magistrates can impose orders banning people from keeping animals in the future, but all parties agreed it would not be beneficial in this case.

Chairman of the bench Susan Allcock told Nicholls: "We are not going to disqualify you from owning or keeping an animal due to the fact the dog at home belongs to your mum and we feel there is no evidence to say it is at risk at this moment in time.

"We do however suggest that you don't take another animal in."

As well as the conditional discharge, Nicholls was ordered to pay a £114 vets bill and £150 towards court costs.

Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA inspector Dawn Burrell said: "I am reasonably confident he won't re-offend and believe the right decision was made by not granting a disqualification order."


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