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JAIL FOR MAN WHO ATTACKED PET DOG WITH AXE; Court hears how Nuneaton man left spaniel to die: Man in axe attack on pet dog locked up.

Byline: Mike Malyon

A MAN who launched a savage axe attack on his family's pet dog has been sent to prison.

Colin Smith,58, was sentenced by Nuneaton magistrates after earlier admitting two charges of animal cruelty.

The court was told how he "clinically" struck the 12-yearold springer spaniel, like the one pictured below, with two blows to the head, causing a deep gash down to the bone across the right eye.

Smith then threw the unconscious dog into the back yard, where he was found by his teenage son. Because of its injuries, the animal had to be put down by a vet.

Presiding magistrate Jane Woods-Scawen told Smith: "This offence is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified.

"You will receive a 12-week sentence on each charge, to run concurrent- ly. This is a total of 12 weeks, half of which will be served in custody and the remainder on licence. "You will also be banned for life from owning any animal and you can only apply for this to be lifted after 10 years. Your contribution towards costs will be pounds 1,000 and we order the forfeiture of the axe." Smith, a self-employed electronics designer, attacked the dog last December at his home in Earls Road, Nuneaton, while hi s partner - who had owned the dog, Roscoe, since it had been a puppy - slept upstairs. The case was brought by the RSPCA and local inspector Steve Morrall said: "The sentence reflects the severity of the offence. This was one of the most chilling and bizarre incidents I have had to deal with in 22 years." Nicholas Sutton, prosecuting, read out a statement from Smith given to Mr Morrall the day after the attack. In it, Smith said: "There had been complaints about the dog barking.

"I had had the flu and decided to kill the dog, that his time was up. I considered having him stuffed by a taxidermist but then decided to break the dog's neck with an axe. "The dog was sitting on a leather chair, facing the Christmas tree. I felt his neck to find the right place to break his neck cleanly. I practiced my swing with the axe but he jumped out of the chair. I pulled him back by the tail and hit him on the head. I then hit him again. The second time I knew I had probably fractured his skull. "He yelped when I hit him the first time. After the second blow he went quiet. I put him outside to let nature take its course.

I left him there to die." Mr Sutton said there were blood spots on tiles in the house and when Smith's son, who was then aged 18, arrived home unexpectedly he was told to leave the dog alone. But he took it to the vets and after a conversation with Smith's partner, it was decided to put the dog down. Defence solicitor Musla Ahmed said: "My client did not intend to cause unnecessary suffering. He wanted to kill the dog outright. He had bought the dog as a present for his partner, who cared for it, but he had been suffering with his health and employment and felt it difficult to cope with everyday stress. "He accepts, looking back, that he should have dealt with the situation in a different way."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 23, 2009
Words:563
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