A farmer has been jailed for 18 weeks after hanging his sheepdog from a tree because ’he wouldn’t round up his sheep properly’.
Welshman Graham Thomas was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a Welsh Border Collie Prince after the dog failed to round up his flock of sheep correctly.
Thomas reportedly hanged Prince from a large tree on his farm after witnesses saw him shouting and swearing at the dog. The RSPCA investigated and took him to court.
At the sentencing hearing this week (March 21), which followed Thomas’s conviction on March 12, Newport Magistrates’ Court heard the offence was so serious that only a custodial sentence could be a suitable punishment and he was jailed for 18 weeks.
He was also banned from keeping dogs and sheep for life and ordered to pay £750 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Thomas told the court it was an accidental death, and said the dog had ran up the tree with a 20ft piece of rope attached to his neck which became twisted around the tree.
Thomas said by the time he reached the tree, the dog had died.
Witnesses told the RSPCA that before the incident happened, they had seen Thomas shouting and swearing at Prince.
Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA inspector Emma Smith said: “This is such an unusual and disturbing case where a sheepdog was killed by his owner allegedly because he wouldn’t round up his sheep properly.
“Prince would have suffered immensely which resulted sadly in his death. This deliberate cruelty is just so horrific to fathom.
“Following the incident his body was then removed by the defendant and burnt. It must have been extremely distressing for the witnesses to have seen this.
“We are very grateful to them for reporting it to us and assisting with our investigations.”
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home chief executive commented: "Shocking cases like this show how important it is to increase sentences for the most serious cases of animal cruelty.
“Had this man been convicted of fly tipping, he could have been jailed for up to five years. Instead, he has escaped with just a few months in prison. We urge Westminster not to lose sight of this vital issue and to tighten up our laws as soon as possible.”