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The Northumberland Gazette
South East Northumberland Magistrates Court.
A MAN who tortured his pet dog to death with a screwdriver has been jailed for three months and banned from keeping animals for life.
Ian Glass – described as having a “clear fondness for animals” – launched the sustained attack on brown and white mongrel Rex during the early hours of December 17 last year, South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court heard.
During the attack, Glass, who had not been taking his anti-depressants in the week leading up to the incident, repeatedly stabbed his pet in the neck and knocked out or fractured eight of his teeth.
Judith Curry, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told magistrates that Glass, 59, had followed the wounded dog around his home in Second Avenue, Stobhill, Morpeth, for more than an hour.
Miss Curry said at times the dog just sat still with his mouth open and took the beating.
“The dog was in no way being aggressive and did nothing to warrant the attack,” she said.
“He followed the dog, who at one point had been hiding behind the washing machine.”
Later that morning, Glass left Rex at a neighbour’s house while he went to the shops.
When he returned the neighbour persuaded him to take Rex to the vets but the animal was dead on arrival.
Miss Curry said the post mortem showed Rex had been in considerable pain and discomfort.
Michelle Lamont, defending Glass, said her client had acted in a very unusual way.
“It can be without doubt the suffering was unnecessary,” she said.
“You are dealing with an animal who had been cared for along with another dog and two cats.
“They had been looked after without fault until this.
“He has a very clear fondness when it comes to animals.
“He finds it very difficult to explain why this did happen.”
Ms Lamont said her client suffered from learning difficulties.
“He was experiencing very intense pressure,” she added.
“He was a pressure cooker about to go off.”
Ms Lamont, who said it was only Glass’ honesty which led to the prosecution, added: “It was a random attack. He didn’t necessarily target the animal.
“He tells the first person he sees ‘I have killed my dog’.
“He leaves in what’s been described as very distressed and disorientated state.”
Following the incident, Glass spent time in hospital but was discharged in February.
Ms Lamont told the court that Glass is still the victim of harassment.
“He is being called ‘dog killer’ when he is walking down the street,” she said.
“Nothing you can do will even come close to the knowledge that it was him who caused the fatal injuries to Rex. This is an horrendous case.”
Ms Lamont said Glass had asked her to thank the RSPCA for the way they had dealt with the case.
“This is a man who deeply loves his animals,” she added.
The chairman of the bench Warren Snowdon said: “We have all found this a mostly disturbing case.
“The attack was prolonged, death was caused and a weapon was used. The offence is so serious only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.”
Magistrates also imposed a lifetime disqualification from keeping animals with a minimum period of five years before an application can be made to lift the ban.
After the hearing, RSPCA Inspector Trevor Walker, who dealt with the case, told the News Post Leader: “This is a very disturbing case. I think that the intensity of the pain is reflected in the serious sentence.
“Custodial sentences in animal welfare cases are few and far between, but for this case entirely appropriate.”
Insp Walker said the aim is to secure disqualification from keeping animals to prevent it from happening again.
“It is important to note that the other animals were not harmed in any way but they were removed for their own safety.”
He said it was the first lifetime ban he had seen in his 12 years with the RSPCA and they would contest any application by Glass to have the ban.
“If he’s done it before, he can do it again,” he added.
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