A man found guilty of hitting a dog in the face had his sentence reduced after the judge agreed it was a 'one-off'. Thankfully, a 10-year ban on owning dogs remains in place.
By, 23 Dec 2019
Robert Black, 51, was caught on camera striking his dog in the face in Victoria Park, Newbury, last year.
A shocking incident caught on camera
After police decided to prosecute, Black was sentenced to 23 weeks in prison for what a judge described as a 'deliberate and gratuitous attempt to cause suffering'.
He was also banned from owning animals for the next 10 years.
However, following a successful appeal, Black will only spend 17 weeks in prison.
Black argued he struck the dog to break up a fight with another dog, claiming it was a 'one-off.'
Black's defence lawyer, Steve Malloy, said:
"There's no suggestion the dogs were undernourished or routinely ill-treated."
"This was, in my submission, a one-off incident. It's not in the league of dogfighting or dog baiting."
Mr Black was also under a suspended prison sentence concerning a separate offence at the time of the incident.
Steve Malloy argued a case of time served, which would have freed Mr Black in time for Christmas.
The judge refused, citing the defendants 288 previous convictions, including battery, burglary, theft and drunk and disorderly.
Addressing Mr Black directly, Judge Wheeler said:
"You have a lengthy and extremely depressing record."
"But while the five blows can be characterised as a deliberate and gratuitous attempt to cause harm to the dog, it was lesser harm, not greater harm. "
Black will spend Xmas locked up
He then reduced the sentence to 17 weeks but refused to lift the ban on owning animals.
The dog has since been rehomed with a loving family.
As for Mr Black, let's hope he spends the next few months reflecting very carefully on his actions. We can also take comfort from the fact that he won't be going anywhere near another dog for a very long time.
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