Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

Dorset deer killers' sentence 'pathetic'

Upton Country Park
The attack took place at Upton Country Park in June 2009

Two 17-year-old boys have been ordered to do 100 hours community service for stamping a young deer to death in Dorset "for a laugh".

The pair were found guilty at Poole Youth Court in December of killing the fawn in Upton Country Park in June.

The teenagers were cleared of beating a wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering. A 16-year-old boy was cleared of both charges.

Animal campaigners outside the court called the sentence "pathetic".

The boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were also given a 12-month community rehabilitation orders and each told to pay £1,000, at £20 a week, to cover prosecution costs and vet bills.

About 25 campaigners chanted "shame on you" as the boys left court.

Karate chop

Among them was Jill Adelus, who said: "It's a pathetic sentence and we don't accept it.

"The judge isn't handing them the sentence they deserve.

"It's a green light to say it is okay to kill and torture animals."

Post-mortem tests showed the deer suffered multiple injuries.

Keith Arthurs was walking his dog when he saw the fawn stamped to death

The boys were "egging" each other on, with one swinging the deer by its leg and another karate chopping its head, before they "stomped" it to death, the court heard.

The 16-year-old boy, who was cleared of all charges, told police he only nudged the fawn once with his foot and did not laugh like the others.

The fawn, which was four to six weeks old, suffered several skull fractures, a severed spine and a fractured right leg.

District Judge Roger House said: "The penalty for this offence is such that there cannot be imprisonment in the youth court."

The deer's death attracted international interest when eyewitness Keith Arthurs, 52, who was walking his dog, saw it being attacked.

The court heard Mr Arthurs was so distressed by what he saw he no longer goes to the park.

One of the teenagers has lodged an appeal against his conviction which will be heard at a later date.

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