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Doctor fined for ‘torturing’ chicken coop dog

A RETIRED GP has criticised the justice system after he was ordered to pay more than £6,700 after he admitted repeatedly shooting a neighbour's dog which had broken into his chicken coop at his home in Terrington St Clement near King's Lynn in Norfolk.

The court were told how a ten month old Japanese Akita called Socks had broken into Christopher Wood's garden and had killed up to four of his hens. Another dog which had bitten his way into the coop had escaped from the garden when Mr Wood fired his air rifle twice into the air.

The young puppy crawled underneath the chicken coop but Wood continued to fire and shot Socks 12 times at close range in the head, chest and leg for 15 minutes.

Two vets confirmed that the dog had suffered mental and physical distress during the attack, which they agreed was tantamount to torture.

57-year-old Wood initially denied cruelly ill-treating the dog, and was angered by the ruling, claiming to reporters: ‘The message arising from that judgement is that the law is not capable of protecting its citizens’, adding that he was trying to ‘pacify and subdue’ the dog to protect the two remaining hens.

‘If you have a problem with a dog, do not resort to the statutory powers, the police or courts, but get a shotgun and shoot the dog dead,’ he said.

‘The victim according to the law was neither myself, nor my wife nor the chickens and the owner of the dog bore no legal culpability for putting it in harm's way. I am sure this will not go unnoticed by the country people of Norfolk who do not rest safe in their beds.

‘The legal justice system is in need of a radical overhaul - if the transport system had evolved at the same rate we would still be in the age of the horse and cart and the medical system would still be amputating limbs without anaesthetic.’

The retired GP and his wife had kept hens as pets for years. Wood claimed that Socks, who was underneath the chicken coop by the time the shooting recommenced after the warning shots, was still acting aggressively towards the hens. The RSPCA condemned the sustained attack as going beyond what was reasonably justified and necessary. RSPCA inspector Jon Night described Wood's actions as ‘barbaric’.

Vet Danielle Hecht, who examined Socks within hours of the attack on August 21 last year, described him as ‘submissive and very quiet’ and removed nine pellets from his body. The dog has since recovered from the shooting

Chairman of the bench Ann Wadsworth said: ‘We accepted that he (Wood) acted not unreasonably in initially using his air rifle upon them, but agree that it was neither reasonably necessary nor justified to continue to fire repeatedly at the dog at close range over a period of 15 to 20 minutes when it was underneath the chicken coop and he must have known that he was causing it repeated injury.’

Wood was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £5,232 costs.