A dad who strangled his pet dog to death and dumped the body in a wheelie bin has been cleared of animal cruelty.Wh..? How can this be? you ask.
Well, turn the lamps down low, set a roaring fire in the hearth, and hearken to a thrilling tale of a man's desperate battle for survival against the untamed savagery of...a year-old Staffordshire terrier?
Bolton, who is a full-time carer for his wife, told the court it was the only humane method of killing available at the time. He said: "She was ferocious, jumping up and lunging at my face and throat, and snapping at my hands and wrists. She was foaming at the mouth and baring her teeth."Oh, no! *clutches cushion*
"She was a medium sized-dog with an awful lot of strength and power. I knew there was a very real threat to my family's safety. It was very traumatic."*swoon* How brave!
The court heard Bolton, who also has three other dogs, acquired Nellie from a neighbour who was concerned about its vicious behaviour.Ummm.... Hang on!
Bolton had agreed to take her for a trial period, but after two weeks, noticed her acting aggressively towards his other dogs and growling at his children. He later found out the former rescue dog was not supposed to have been re-homed with a family with children.So...instead of passing it back to the rescue home, this chap palms it off on his neighbour?
Concerned for the safety of his family, Bolton decided to have her euthanased.Whew! What a sensible ma...
He said he sought advice from agencies including the police, the city council, the PDSA and the RSPCA, but claimed they refused to help.
He also said he phoned several veterinary practices in Canterbury, but claimed each of them refused to offer payment plans to help Bolton meet the high cost of putting Nellie to sleep.Riiiiight. He didn't want 'help' at all. He wanted someone else to pay!
He said: "I was quite upset that there was no help available. I got to a point of desperation. I had a dangerous dog in the house that I was pretty much being forced to keep."Umm, no. It's not that expensive. They weren't asking for the soul of your first born child, after all!
Bolton told the court he kept Nellie in a large cage for the majority of the time, but on the day she died, she had broken free and started attacking his other dogs.
Addressing the bench, Bolton said: "It was probably one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life.
"I'm not proud of what I did. Never would I have done it under any other circumstances. But if I was in the same situation again, I would do it again to cease the threat to my family."You just wouldn't pay any money to avoid that threat...
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Elizabeth Spence said Bolton could have avoided the situation by refusing to take in a dog known to be aggressive, and suggested Nellie's suffering was unnecessary.Well, who couldn't agree with that?
Magistrates deliberated for more than two hours, before reaching a verdict of not guilty.*sigh*
Chairman of the bench David Ellerby said: "Mr Bolton was under sustained attack, was desperate and reasonably believed that strangulation was the most humane method available at the time to protect himself and his family.
"We accept there was suffering to the dog, but we find this could not have been avoided or reduced at the time, and was therefore necessary."In other words: "We believe this total pack of old fanny we are told by this man who doesn't work, has three dogs already, took in a fourth and didn't fancy forking out for the costs of having it destroyed. Also, we think the Tooth Fairy exists, and that man who leaves presents at the foot of our beds comes from the North Pole"
Speaking after the verdict, Bolton told the Canterbury Times: "I'm very relieved. I've always had dogs and I support the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed in particular.
"But I'm here today because there was no help available to me in that situation. The different agencies need to look into cases like this and perhaps re-think their protocols."Well, I certainly agree there - I think they should, when they get calls like this one, turn up and put the dog to sleep.
Followed by the owner.