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Disqualified ‘trainer’ faces eight year ban

Stephen Barry King

A DOG trainer who hanged a pet from a lead so it foamed at the mouth and passed out faces costs of £2000, 100 hours of community service and a ban on keeping a dog for eight years after being convicted of animal cruelty.

Stephen Barry King, an American dog trainer who trained dogs from his centre in Barne Road, Bexley, Kent was found guilty three weeks ago at Marylebone Magistrates' Court of cruelty, causing unnecessary suffering and terrifying a client’s Bull Terrier. The case had been brought by the RSPCA after they had investigated King’s activities, following an expose of his methods in the animal rights magazine Ooze.

(We would like to make it clear that this article relates to Stephen Barry King, an American trainer, and not to Stephen G. King, the well known trainer who practices in Romford, Essex and who is the owner of Crosskeys Pet Care Centre and Crosskeys Select Books - Ed.)

At Marylebone Magistrates’ Court Miss Odette Hamilton, of Messent Road, Eltham, south east London told the court of her horror when she saw Stephen Barry King ‘helicoptering' her two-year-old dog Gunner from a lead which twisted and swung a foot above the ground.

She said: "Gunner was bleeding from the mouth. He was so scared he was pooing himself. He was choking and I had to turn around.

"Stephen Barry King said to me:‘He is going to understand when he feels the pain that he has to stop'."

Minutes earlier, Gunner tried to run off from outside Miss Hamilton's home when King removed his choke chain, which was on the wrong way.

Stephen Barry King grabbed Gunner, but then wrapped a lead round his neck and lifted the dog into the air. Later, as King's wife, Hayley King, 40, tried to clean Gunner's bloodied paws, he swung the dog's head from side to side in chastisement every time it moved.

Miss Hamilton was talked into agreeing to Stephen Barry King giving Gunner a fortnight's training at his home in Trafalgar Road, Greenwich.

The court heard Gunner returned terrified with numerous cuts and scabs on his head. Mrs King claimed Gunner got the cuts from falling down stairs and crashing into his kennel.

Vet Jane Robson, who saw Gunner after his stay with Stephen Barry King, said the incident outside Miss Hamilton's house would have made the dog feel like it was "literally fighting for its life".

Dog training expert Annette Conn had to re-train Gunner after his ordeal She told the court: "You don't normally see that level of terror in a dog unless it has been abused."
Stephen Barry King denied the charges saying: "I have never done anything like that in my life."
He added: "You don't always give a dog an unpleasant response if it does something wrong, but it depends on the circumstances."

Deputy District Judge Julie Cooper pronounced Stephen Barry King guilty as charged, but deferred sentencing until October 15th for reports. Stephen Barry King’s solicitor Ricky Yau said King had suffered two years of persecution including threatening e-mails, an intruder and had given up dog training.

Stephen Barry King begged to be disqualified from owning a dog "so this terror can end".

But Deputy District Judge Julie Cooper said: "I am not just looking into disqualifying you. I am looking into possible imprisonment for this matter."

Phil Buckley of the Kennel Club commented: "The Kennel Club was very pleased to learn of this outcome. Frances from Ooze Magazine - who should take full credit in bringing this matter to the court and other organisations’ attention - travelled to the KC in London to show us the video of the so-called training methods adopted, and we were so shocked by the content that we gave an immediate statement at that time."