Video: Man jailed for ‘brutal’ attack on bull terrier

A MAN has been sentenced to 26 weeks in prison after being convicted of carrying out a “sustained, brutal and horrific” attack on a pet dog.

A crowd of protesters was outside Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday for the sentencing of Andrew Summerfield, 44, of Defoe Crescent, Colchester.

He had been found guilty in his absence of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal at an earlier trial.

The court was told that Summerfield shot bull terrier Barney 17 times with an air gun, hacked at his head with a meat cleaver and left him for dead at the side of the A12. A tight noose was found cutting into his neck.

Despite the best efforts of officers from the RSPCA, which brought the prosecution, and vets called to the roadside, Barney was too badly hurt and had to be put down.

The court heard that Summerfield was traced through the microchip that had been implanted in Barney.

The RSPCA called in the police to assist the investigation and an air rifle was found at Summerfield’s home, along with the blood-soaked cleaver. Tests showed that they were almost certainly the weapons used to attack Barney.

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Prosecutor Lynne Shirley, for the RSPCA, said Summerfield had initially claimed he had sold the dog for �10 the day before it was found, claiming it had bitten him and killed one of his ducks.

Sentencing Summerfield, magistrate David Druitt said: “This was a sustained, brutal and horrific attack on an animal with a clear intent to kill. Two separate weapons were used and you left the animal, assuming it was dead. This is the most serious attack that could be imagined.”

He said that only a custodial sentence could reflect the “gravity and seriousness” of the crimes.

Unemployed Summerfield, wearing a white shirt, gave no reaction when the sentence was read out. He was also banned for life from keeping animals and a seizure order was made for the RSPCA to remove any other animals in his care.

The court had earlier been told that he was a single parent of two children who relied solely on him for help.

Hendrika Tatam, mitigating, said Summerfield now accepted full responsibility for the injuries Barney sustained.

She said: “He is very, very sorry for what has happened and the dog in question.”

After the hearing, RSPCA inspector Steve Craddock said it was one of the “more extreme” cases he had dealt with and that he was pleased that Summerfield had been given the toughest possible sentence the law allows.

He added: “Unfortunately, cases such as these are becoming more and more common. We are recording more and more instances of severe animal cruelty.”

The crowd of protesters outside the court, mobilised through Facebook by outraged animal rights campaigners, chanted “justice for Barney”.

Protester Marcia Hagon, from Romford, said: “It’s justice as far as you can get in this country at the moment - it’s the maximum sentence he got today. We would like to see stiffer sentences in the future.”

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