Serviceman cut dog's throat - court

AN American airman used a combat-style knife to slit the throat of his own dog after a row with his wife, a court heard.The grizzly remains of “Goldie”, a male golden retriever, were found in a blood-drenched bin liner in a blue recycling bin by a refuse collector in Newmarket earlier this year.

AN American airman used a combat-style knife to slit the throat of his own dog after a row with his wife, a court heard.

The grizzly remains of “Goldie”, a male golden retriever, were found in a blood-drenched bin liner in a blue recycling bin by a refuse collector in Newmarket earlier this year.

Although RAF Lakenheath-based Dustin Yandell initially denied having any knowledge of what had happened to his dog, he yesterday admitted killing the pet between March 27 and March 28 this year.

And magistrates in Bury St Edmunds warned the 21-year-old United States Air Force employee, who was dressed in black during his court appearance, that he now faces a spell behind bars.

A neighbour described Goldie as “a very friendly dog” who simply disappeared one day.

RSPCA prosecutor Michael Taylor told how Yandell, who killed the dog at his former home in Mill Reef Close, Newmarket, initially claimed his dog had gone missing.

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Mr Taylor then revealed how an RSPCA investigation found blood remains on Yandell's curtains, a latch of the gate to his home, in the bath, on the bathroom tiles and on landing walls. Dog hair was also found in the bath plughole.

Having denied any knowledge of what had happened to Goldie during interview by the RSPCA on both March 29 and April 11, the airman later revealed how he had become upset with something his wife had said and how he took the dog upstairs to the bathroom.

The court heard how he sat with the dog for about a minute and then cut the dog's neck with the combat-style knife from right to left, severing the jugular vein.

He then set about cleaning up the mess, which Mr Taylor described as including “copious amounts” of blood.

“It is possible it was a revenge attack against his wife,” Mr Taylor added.

Mr Taylor said Edinburgh University veterinary pathologist Professor Ranald Munro had examined the dog's corpse and claimed death would not have been instant.

Mr Taylor said Goldie would have been in “severe pain and distress” for a few minutes prior to death.

Claire Lockwood, mitigating for Yandell, who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, told the court she accepted that all sentencing options - including prison - would be considered in due course.

She added that Yandell had “extensive personal mitigation in relation to his family circumstances and employment”.

After the hearing yesterday, RSPCA inspector Jason Finch said he was pleased that Yandell had pleaded guilty adding the evidence against him had been strong.

Yandell declined to comment on the matter as he left court. He will be sentenced on September 18 at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates Court.

About 3,500 pets are kept by US service personnel at RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall and RAF Feltwell.

In June, the USAF appointed Yvonne Chadick as the animal welfare officer for the three bases.

A USAF spokeswoman yesterday said yesterday's case had acted as a spur to get the position filled but added that moves to create such a position had actually begun about a year ago.

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