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Man jailed for hanging Stafford

A MAN who used a homemade noose to kill a puppy he had bred was jailed for four months for animal cruelty.

Anthony Woodhouse, from East Sussex, stood behind a door and pulled on a retractable dog lead, hoisting the animal on the other side into the air causing it to choke to death.

When interviewed by the RSPCA. Woodhouse blithely said that he did not believe the dog would have suffered much, but a vet said the manner of killing was ‘inexcusable’.

Eastbourne Magistrates' Court was told that Woodhouse had bred the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, called Lennox, himself and had given it to a local teenager as a present. The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was forbidden by his mother from keeping the dog at their flat, so the animal stayed with Woodhouse, and the 16-year-old would visit it every day.

The court was told that Woodhouse claimed the animal had pinned him against a wall barking and that he was scared of it. Prosecuting solicitor David Buck told magistrates that at around 10pm on March 25, Woodhouse phoned the boy to tell him that the dog had been aggressive towards him.

The boy, who told RSPCA officers the dog was ‘a bit nippy and snappy but otherwise fit and healthy’, rushed over to Woodhouse's flat. He let himself in with a key Woodhouse had given him and watched as Woodhouse put the noosed lead over the animal's head.

The boy, who did not appear in court, told RSPCA officers he was ‘scared and shocked’ at what was happening and had tried to grab the lead from Woodhouse but could not. Woodhouse claimed that the boy had helped him pull the dog up the other side of the door.

He said that after 10 minutes had passed, Woodhouse let go of the lead and opened the door. The puppy was lying on the floor and the boy said Woodhouse knelt on its neck and said, ‘You're a fighter’. The boy later buiried the dog in a friend’s garden.

Following a tip-off from a mutual friend of both Woodhouse and the boy an investigation was conducted by the RSPCA. Charlotte Baumann, one of the charity's Sussex inspectors, dug up the dead dog from its makeshift grave on April 4. Speaking outside the court she said the case was one of the most horrific she had ever seen in her 11 years' experience.

A vet who carried out a post mortem examination on the puppy's body said that its strangulation was inexcusable as a way of euthanasia and that it would have caused the animal to have suffered unnecessarily.

Graham Pithouse, defending, said Woodhouse ‘bitterly regrets and is sorry’ for what he had done. He said: ‘It is an extremely unpleasant offence and he is obviously going to receive a great deal of criticism.’

Sentencing Woodhouse to four months in prison, magistrate Susan DiAngeli said: ‘This was serious. It was a pre-meditated attack in front of a youth causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and a youth.’ Woodhouse was also disqualified for life from keeping any animal. His other pets have been re-homed.