A CRUEL dog owner squeezed his puppy’s neck until shocked bystanders thought its eyes were going to pop out.
David Short also hurled the Staffordshire bull terrier in front of a car and threatened to kill it during a drunken attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend.
The 20-year-old was arrested after the woman called the police about his behaviour and he told police he was trying to “toughen up” the dog, called Marley.
Short was due at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court earlier this month to answer charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and failing to ensure the needs of an animal were met.
But he didn’t turn up and magistrates found the case proved in his absence.
He was at court yesterday to be sentenced, but after hearing the case magistrates asked for it to be adjourned for the probation service to prepare a report about him.
Denise Jackman, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court that police were called on October 2011 in Lumley Terrace, Jarrow.
She said: “His ex-girlfriend said he got the dog before they split up, but once they separated, he kept trying to give her it.
“She didn’t want the dog but on this occasion Short rang her and said if she didn’t take it off him ‘it would be gone for good’.
Ms Jackman added: “She met him but he said the two came as a pair before saying he was going to kill the dog.
“Then he picked the dog up and threw it in the road in front of a car. She managed to get hold of Marley but Short snatched it from her and began to squeeze it.
“There was other people watching by now and he was squeezing it so hard she was worried its eyes were going to pop out.”
The court heard when police turned up, Short was sitting on a wall clutching the dog and his ex-girlfriend was in front of him, crying.
He was drunk and said he was going to kill it.
The police officers called the RSPCA, who took Marley to a vet.
The vet confirmed that although there wasn’t much evidence of physical harm being done to the dog, its needs weren’t being met and was suffering.
In his interview with police, Short said he had been ill-treating the dog to try to toughen it up.
Andrew Wigmore, defending, said: “There is not much mitigation I can offer.
“He was under the influence of alcohol and although he says that he would never have killed the dog, it is a horrifying offence.
“It is lucky the police got there before there was any long-lasting or permanent damage done.”
The court heard that Short signed Marley over to the RSPCA.
Magistrates adjourned the case until February 18.
Short, of Bow Street, Bowburn, County Durham, was granted bail until then on the conditions that he complies with the probation service, lives at the address given to court and reports to Durham police station the day before he is due at court.