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Man jailed for biting off puppies’ tails

A MAN who ‘docked’ three puppies by biting off their tails seconds after they were born was jailed for six months last week.

Barry Knight, 28, of White Hurworth Farm, Wingate, Co Durham, bit the tails off the Lakeland terrier cross-breeds, which were smaller than the palm of his hand, ‘about three seconds after they popped out’ he told an RSPCA Inspector.

Knight had denied four animal welfare charges, including keeping dogs despite being previously banned for five years, but Newton Aycliffe magistrates found him guilty at an earlier hearing.

Garry Palmer, an RSPCA inspector, told the original hearing that Knight had admitted the offences in an interview at the farm, which belongs to his parents.

Mr Palmer had asked Knight who had docked the puppies' tails, and the defendant had replied: ‘I did.’

When asked how he had done it, Knight replied: ‘I bit them off.’
The inspector then asked when it had happened and Knight replied: ‘About three seconds after they popped out.’

Knight later claimed that he had been joking and insisted he had been looking after the puppies for a friend, but magistrates convicted him of all offences, which happened in August 2005.

Magistrates jailed him for six months at a sentencing hearing last Friday for causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs. He was also given a further one-month sentence, to be served concurrently, for possessing animals while being disqualified.

The magistrates imposed a further five-year ban on him keeping animals.

Doreen Chamberlain, the chairman of the bench, said: ‘You still do not accept responsibility or show any remorse and you do not believe that the procedures caused suffering.’

Alison Banks, defending, lodged an immediate appeal that will be held at a Crown Court, but her bail application was turned down and Knight was taken down to the cells.

Inspector Palmer, who was in court for sentencing, said afterwards: ‘This has been a fantastic result for animal welfare. Docking should be only carried out by a vet under anaesthetic and this has been done in a barn with someone just biting the puppies’ tails off.

‘He explained he had done it seconds after they popped out but later backtracked and said it was a flippant remark, but the courts have taken a dim view of that. He has already been banned once for cruelty in 2001 and now he has done it again and must realise that repeat offenders will be punished.’