‘Harrowing screams’: Owner who battered dog and left it partially blind jailed

Marley. Picture: RSPCA

Marley. Picture: RSPCA - Credit: Archant

A dog owner who battered his Staffordshire Bull Terrier on multiple occasions and left it with two detached retina and partially sighted was jailed for six months today.

Marley. Picture: RSPCA

Marley. Picture: RSPCA - Credit: Archant

Joseph Thomas, of Crouch Hill, was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, and to a second charge of failing in his duty as person responsible for animal welfare.

He got 16-weeks for the first indictment and 10-weeks for the second, which will run consecutively.

The bench also made a deprivation order so RSPCA, which brought the case, can take ownership of the dog, and it imposed an "indefinite disqualification" on Thomas owning any animals.

He can't appeal against the latter for five years, and must also pay a victim surcharge of £115 within 12 months of release from prison.

In her sentencing remarks, Dr Joan Scanlon told Thomas: "We have paid a great deal of attention to what probation had to say [advocating against a prison stretch] but we have to consider the nature and seriousness of the cases in which you were found guilty. And we consider the treatment of the animal in your care is so serious that it merits a custodial sentence, nothing else would be sufficient." She also cited Thomas' "absence of remorse", ongoing denial of guilt and the "severe distress" his attacks caused for witnesses, as reasons for the sentence.

The court heard how Thomas terrorised the dog, Marley, who is two or three years old, over a two year period, with attacks that included punching the dog, whipping it with a steel lead and beating it with a branch.

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The court heard how, on January 15, 2019, a woman and her friend were walking on the Parkland Walk, near Ashmount School, when they witnessed Thomas "forcefully hitting the dog with a heavy branch" about 20 times.

Prosecutor Mark Jones explained that soon after Thomas got Marley in 2017, a neighbour reported witnessing him "pulling the dog off the ground" by its lead about five times so that it was "being caused to choke and thrashing around in the air". The court heard Thomas then hit Marley about 15 times with the lead, and that the neighbour would hear "harrowing screaming from the dog" coming from inside his flat.

On another occasion a Tesco employee saw Thomas punching the animal in the ribs. Separately, a further witness saw him strike the dog four times in the ribs area. They remonstrated with him and he said: "It's nothing to do with you," to which they replied: "It's got something to do with me, we're in a public space."

Officer seized Marley off Thomas on April 26,