Burnley man in court for letting puppy suffer

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A “DOG lover” let a puppy suffer in agony for two weeks after an attempt to dock its tail left it infected, a court was told.

Burnley magistrates heard how Lee Rainford (26), said to be a heavy drinker, knew the weeks old male Rottweiler was in pain, but did nothing about it.

The pup was finally taken to a vet when police and an RSPCA inspector turned up at Rainford’s Burnley home, but the tail later had to be removed.

The defendant, of Leyland Road, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, between June 13th and 18th, last year and not taking reasonable steps to ensure its needs were met.

He was given a two-month 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew, seven days a week and must pay £70 costs.

The justices also banned Rainford from owning or keeping animals for five years and his barrister announced Rainford would appeal the disqualification.

The Bench chairman told the defendant, who has had dogs all his life: “To be frank, in our opinion, you ought to have known better.”

It is the second time in a month Rainford has appeared in court for breaking the laws of dog ownership. On December 19th, he pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control in public. He will be sentenced at the crown court on February 13th, when the fate of the animal, a Staffordshire bull terrier cross, which could face destruction, will be decided.

Mr Chris Wyatt (prosecuting) told the hearing police and the inspector found the black and tan pup in the living room at the defendant’s home. It had three thin elastic bands around it’s tail and two pieces of fabric elastic also tied tightly around the tail. The animal yelped when it’s tail was touched.

Rainford confirmed he was the owner, said he had had the dog for two weeks and had bought it from a man and woman outside a corner shop for £120. He claimed the binding was on the dog when he got it and the pair had told him to leave it on and the tail would drop off.

Mr Wyatt said the defendant would not sign the puppy over, but agreed it could go to a vet. The vet found the bands had cut into the dog’s skin and tissue, it was in a lot of pain and puss was coming out of the wounds. The bands were cut away with a scalpel and the Rottweiler was given pain relief and antibiotics.

The animal was seen by the vet again on June 27th, by which time the tail was hanging by a thread and had to be taken off.

The vet stated the pup would have suffered considerably.

The prosecutor said Rainford was interviewed by a RSPCA inspector, accepted the dog had suffered unnecessarily and that it was his fault for not taking it to the vet. He agreed to sign the animal over to the charity.

Mr William Staunton (defending) said he had had dogs with him all his life and it was the first time his judgement in caring for one had been called into question.

Mr Staunton said: “This was a technique which has been used in the past, but what he should have done is kept an eye on the puppy.”

The barrister added: “He is a person for whom dogs have been a major part of his life.”