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Cruel dog owner spared jail

A DOG owner who threw his Staffordshire bull terrier Buster across the room in a rage, later claiming the dog had 'bared its teeth' at his youngest son, has escaped a prison sentence.
Jonathon Nicholls admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal last month and was warned by magistrates he faced jail. But he was given 240 hours community service and banned from keeping an animal for 10 years after appearing before Tameside magistrates.

As a result of the case, Nicholls told magistrates he had received death threats and hate mail which he was 'distressed' about.

A neighbour had called the RSPCA after Nichollsadmitted to her he had 'battered' the seven-month-old pup, adding it was lucky he hadn't 'smashed its head in with a hammer.' He gloated that it couldn't move, telling her: "You should have seen it two days ago. This is an improvement."
Nicholls had owned the dog since Christmas and had bought it as a present for his sons aged 10 and four.

In May, Nicholls claimed he saw Buster baring its teeth at his youngest son and threw the dog across the room, smashing him it against the door. RSPCA inspector Vicky McDonald, who went along attended the following day, found Buster was lame on his back leg. A camera crew filming for BBC1 documentary Animal 24/7 captured the footage visit on film.

Nicholls allowed Insp McDonald to take the dog to a local vet, where Buster was found to have swelling on the skull and previous injuries. His front leg had been pinned after an earlier fracture and a further semi-healed fracture was discovered on his right hind leg.

The leg on which he was lame was then found to have bone disease. The condition deteriorated earlier this month. A vet felt Buster's other legs would not be strong enough to support him through the recuperation. He was left with no option but to put him down.

Chris Squibbs, defending, said: "It is a highly emotive issue. He (Nicholls) has been subjected to a number of death threats and hate mail which has been obviously distressing. He has never sought to avoid responsibility and has always accepted matters.’

It is not known where Nicholls obtained his puppy from.