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Owner sentenced for inflicting “immense suffering” on pet dog

It was claimed that the dog had been involved in a road traffic accident - but the single head injury was completely inconsistent with such an event.

A man has been handed a suspended prison sentence after subjecting his Jack Russell Terrier to “immense suffering” through blunt force trauma – having weeks earlier asked vets to put the dog to sleep.

Lindsey Stoneham, 57, of Llwyncelyn in Bettws was last week (23 August) given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for one year, and a four-year ban on the keeping of all animals.

He had previously been found guilty of an Animal Welfare Act offence at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court, following a trial. The offence concerned subjecting the dog, named Tom, to unnecessary suffering through blunt force trauma.

Stoneham had phoned a veterinary practice on 14 March 2018 in Bridgend asking for them to put Tom to sleep. He claimed the dog had behavioural problems, but refused to pay the £130 quoted, and instead said he would “take the dog to the farmer”.

Little over two weeks later – on 31 March – Stoneham attended the same veterinary practice with the dog, claiming Tom had been hit by several cars. However, the Jack Russell Terrier was found to be in immaculate condition apart from a single hole in his head, arising serious suspicion and prompting an RSPCA investigation. Tom was smothered in blood from the wound and his eyes were flickering.

Sadly, the extent of the dog’s open head wound meant he had to be put to sleep immediately to prevent further suffering. Vets later confirmed that the injuries were completely inconsistent with a road traffic accident.

A post-mortem revealed that the dog had been struck by a blunt force instrument which was likely to have caused significant trauma. Bruising was also evident to Tom’s head, where fingers were used to hold the head still.

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In addition to the suspended prison sentence and animal ban, Stoneham  was also given a curfew, meaning he will not be allowed to leave his home between 11am and 2.30pm. In addition, he was told to pay £2,000 in costs, a £150 victim surcharge and ordered to surrender custody of his two shire horses to the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper said: “The treatment of poor Tom and the horrific treatment and immense suffering he endured is so upsetting.

“It was claimed that Tom had been involved in a car accident – but the injuries were found to be wholly inconsistent with such a chain of events.

“Tom, instead, was found to have been subjected to blunt force trauma to the head.

“Sadly, the dog was clearly in immense pain when taken to a veterinary practice with blood all over his body – and he had to be put to sleep immediately.

“This was a lengthy and complex case, but at least we were able to ensure some justice for Tom, who sadly paid such a high price for the mistreatment he faced.”

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