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Police officers sentenced after dog attacks

Two police officers have been handed community sentence orders after neighbours filmed them kicking and throwing their pet dogs around their back yard.

Anja Mason and Craig Macleod were filmed by a neighbour who watched the abuse at a house in Prestatyn, north Wales. They had admitted causing suffering to the dogs and were also banned from keeping animals for five years.

Mason received a sentence of 120 hours and Macleod, received 180 hours. Both were ordered to pay £1,267.10 in costs.

At an earlier hearing Denbigh magistrate Wendy Gibbs told the pair a custodial sentence could not be ruled out. She said: ‘There were several incidents of deliberate ill treatment which was frightening to both dogs. You intentionally caused pain and suffering and mental terror to both dogs."

Magistrates found no mitigating factors in either case.

Both officers have been removed from frontline duties by North Wales Police and warned they may lose their jobs.

Last month's court hearing heard how a neighbour had become increasingly concerned about the ill-treatment of dogs at the property and had called the RSPCA on several occasions. However, when an RSPCA inspector found no evidence of cruelty, the neighbour bought camera equipment and positioned it overlooking the couple's yard.

Prosecuting, Glenn Murphy said: ‘To her credit this lady purchased a camera and she took many hours of video footage."

A DVD, which lasted about 15-20 minutes in length, was played to the court. In one scene Mason was filmed hitting the pup's head and kicking her. Later the dog was seen pulling washing from a line before Macleod emerged from the house and chased it to a corner of the yard. Out of shot of the camera the dog could then be heard yelping. In other scenes, Macleod sprayed the dogs with water and Mason is seen chasing the puppy with what appears to be a stick.

The rottweiler can also be heard yelping as it is apparently abused by Macleod off camera.
The court heard how Macleod had been concerned that the rottweiler was "over-zealous" with his eight-year-old daughter when she visited and he had been advised by a dog handler to spray water as a deterrent.

Both defendants had faced six charges relating to alleged offences between March and April 2008. However the majority of the charges were withdrawn when no evidence was offered against them.

The court heard the DVD had been viewed by a vet who concluded "the actions were not those of a reasonably competent and humane carer".

Joanne Stephens, defending, said neither Mason nor Macleod had intended to cause the animals pain. The court heard both dogs were signed over to the RSPCA by their owners and are now doing well.