Page last updated at 18:13 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 19:13 UK

Dog hit with hammer then stabbed

Scene of attack on dog
RSPCA inspectors were contacted by police after the attack

A County Durham teenager has been given a four-month detention and training order for hitting his family pet with a hammer then stabbing it to death.

The 16-year-old was also banned by Newton Aycliffe Youth Court for keeping animals for life.

Magistrates heard that the 14-year-old male Staffordshire bull terrier dog was hit over the head, then stabbed in the throat with a kitchen knife.

Despite treatment by a vet, it had to be put to sleep two days later.

RSPCA inspectors were contacted by Durham Police after the attack last November.

'Unrelenting cruelty'

At an earlier hearing in April, the youth pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering.

In mitigation, the court heard that it was an impulsive action and not a pre-meditated act of cruelty, and the remorse was immediate.

RSPCA inspector Sue Craig said: "This was a shocking case of deliberate and unrelenting cruelty.

"Today's sentence reflects the callous and cruel nature of this case, and I'm very pleased with the result.

"There's no excusing what this boy did. He showed complete disregard for the life he was taking, or the suffering he caused in doing so."

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