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Woman jailed for strangling puppy

A MOTHER who throttled her daughter's Jack Russell puppy after its crying kept her awake all night was been jailed for 60 days last week when magistrates handed out a severe penalty for what was described as "excessive cruelty".

Karen Fox, 40, who had paid £150 for the dog the day before as a 12th birthday present for the child, told RSPCA inspectors later: "I was getting annoyed and just wanted it to stop. I strangled it until it went limp. I wanted it to shut up. I wanted to kill it."

Fox was dragged kicking and screaming to the cells after being sentenced by magistrates, who called her actions "beyond belief".

Her defence lawyer said she had reacted out of desperation not malice, after saving up for weeks to buy the pedigree puppy called Lily.

Single parent Fox, who has a history of depression, wept throughout the hour-long hearing before Bradford magistrates.

The six-week-old dog was discovered wrapped in a bloodstained towel by a neighbour, minutes after the incident last August.

Nigel Monaghan, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: "The neighbour had seen the dog the day before and it was healthy. The next day it looked as though it was asleep and then she realised there was a problem. She tried mouth-to-mouth and that was unsuccessful." He added that Fox’s action was a "blatant act of animal cruelty".

Mr Monaghan said Fox fully admitted what she had done and said: "She has been crying all night."

A post-mortem showed the puppy had suffered considerable pain before it died from asphyxiation.

Mr Monaghan recommended that the family's hamster should be rehomed with Fox's eldest daughter.

Fox, who is unemployed, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing cruelty to an animal. She has no previous convictions.

Arshat Mahmood, for Fox, said she had received hate mail since the case had been reported and had been "punishing herself ever since".

Magistrates told Fox, from Bradford, "The acts described are sickening. This bench would be failing its duty if it didn't deal with this extremely seriously."

Fox was banned from owning an animal for life.

The RSPCA said: "It was a horrible and tragic case and the jail term reflects that."

Breeder Sue Harrison was quoted in several news reports telling potential buyers of puppies to be prepared for difficulties.

She said: "Any puppy who is taken away from its mother is expected to cry throughout the night until it gets used to its family and surroundings.

"Rearing a puppy is like taking care of a baby and is hard work. The decision to buy any dog should not be taken lightly."