Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Pcs sentenced for pet dog kicking


Footage of the officers hitting their pet dogs

Two North Wales Police officers have been given community sentences after being filmed kicking and throwing their pet dogs around their back yard.

Anja Mason, 29, and Craig Macleod, 34, were filmed by a neighbour who watched the abuse at a house in Prestatyn.

They had admitted causing suffering to the dogs. They were also banned from keeping animals for five years.

Mason received a sentence of 120 hours and Macleod, received 180 hours. Both were ordered to pay 1,267.10 in costs.

The hearing at Denbigh Magistrates Court was told that RSPCA officers had been called to the home the pair shared on a number of occasions in spring 2008 by, a concerned neighbour.

However, on each visit, inspectors were unable to obtain evidence that the couple's rottweiler dog called Snoopy or a border collie puppy called Tess had been mistreated.

Craig Macleod and Anja Mason
Magistrates found no mitigating factors for the actions of Macleod and Mason

The neighbour then set up a video camera to film the officers' back yard, capturing the evidence needed to bring the prosecution.

A DVD showing 13 clips of ill treatment was shown to the court at an earlier hearing.

In one scene Mason was filmed hitting the pup's head and kicking her.

Later the dog was seen pulling washing from a line before Macleod emerged from the house and chased it to a corner of the yard. Out of shot of the camera the dog could then be heard yelping.

In other scenes, Macleod sprayed the dogs with water and Mason is seen chasing the puppy with what appears to be a stick.

The rottweiler could also be heard yelping as it was apparently abused by Macleod off-camera.

The court heard how Macleod had been concerned that the rottweiler was "over-zealous" with his eight-year-old daughter when she visited and he had been advised by a dog handler to spray water as a deterrent.

'Totally inappropriate'

However, prosecutor Glenn Murphy told the court on Tuesday: "It appeared to the RSPCA that there was no reasonable cause for the chastisement that was being given.

"It was unacceptable.

"In modern times, it is totally inappropriate to use physical violence as part of a training regime."

The court was told that a veterinary expert had reviewed the footage for the RSPCA.

"In his opinion, Mason and McLeod, their actions were not then the actions of a reasonably competent and humane animal carer," added Mr Murphy.

However, defending the two officers, Andrew Hutchinson noted that in 240 hours of video footage, only 13 scenes of unacceptable behaviour had been uncovered.

He said that RSPCA visits to their home had found the animals to be adequately housed, with bedding and food.

'Internal investigation'

Mr Hutchinson said that despite McLeod admitting two charges of causing unnecessary suffering, and Mason one offence, that the pair had never intentionally set out to harm the animals.

"Neither of these dogs had any injuries, none whatsoever," he added.

Both officers have been removed from frontline duties by North Wales Police pending the outcome of the case against them, and could now face losing their jobs.

A force spokesperson said: "North Wales Police are conducting an internal investigation. Therefore it would be inappropriate to comment at this time."

Both dogs were signed over to the RSPCA by their owners. They have been re-homed and are doing well.

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