#TheList Peter Hillin, born c. 1971, of Ashbury Road, Huyton, Liverpool L14 8XA – attacked Staffordshire bull terrier Neo with an axe causing horrific head and shoulder injuries
Hillin, who claimed to love dogs more than people, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal .
He had claimed he only used the handle of the fearsome weapon to strike Neo when the dog attacked his other Staffy, Santos.
But a vet dealing with Neo’s horrific injuries told a court he believed they were consistent with three or four blows with the sharp end of the axe.
Shocked neighbours called police after Neo was left covered in blood from cuts to his head and shoulder.
Armed officers arrested Hillin at his home at around 4pm on Sunday, December 3 2017.
Jane Stacey, prosecuting, said: “The reports to police were that there was a man in that road striking a dog with an axe.
“Several neighbours had become involved in this and one lady said when she came out of her house she saw blood on the hands of this defendant and saw an injured dog.”
Ms Stacey said police arrived on the scene and immediately began giving first aid to Neo, who had severe lacerations on his back and head.
Hillin was arrested and was also found to have injuries to his hands, which he was later treated for in hospital.
He told officers he had tried to separate his dogs with his hands but when this failed had grabbed an axe, the “closest thing to hand” and hit Neo with the handle.
During a trial in April 2018 he told magistrates: “I was trying to stop them killing each other and I quite literally put myself in the way and when that didn’t work, I hit them.”
However the court found Hillin’s account of how the injuries were caused was “inconsistent” and convicted him on the basis he had used the sharp end of the axe.
Ms Stacey said Neo was treated by a vet, who performed surgery to repair a deep 4cm laceration to his head and another deep 4-5cm laceration to his right shoulder.
The vet also found puncture wounds consistent with bites from another dog.
Neo and Santos, who only received minor injuries, both made a full recovery and had been taken into police kennels – costing the taxpayer £2,000 per dog.
Keith Webster, defending, said his client accepted the decision of the court after his trial, said: “It is clear from having heard the evidence of the trial that Peter Hillin did not wake up that morning and decide to injure his dogs.
“What clearly happened, and was common ground through the puncture wounds, is that one dog attacked the other, that’s how this incident started.
“Mr Hillin became involved because he was fearful that one dog was going to kill the other. These were his pets and had been for a number of years.”
Mr Webster said Hillin lived a “rather solitary lifestyle” outside of his job and said: “He loves his dogs more than people, he’s not a people person.”
20 weeks in prison, suspended for two years; 200 hours of unpaid work; £1,100 prosecution costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires May 2028).