#TheList Martin Johnson, born c. 1986, of Wenlock Walk, Grassmoor, Chesterfield S42 5BJ – subjected his dog to a prolonged beating
Johnson, a backyard breeder who sells puppies on various Facebook groups, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the dog, named Sooty, at Chesterfield magistrates’ court on Thursday, May 18 2017.
Sooty was taken into the care of the RSPCA, and was found to have a fractured toe as well as lumps on his spine and on the top of his head.
Prosecuting, Andy Cash, said: “On February 9 2017 the RSPCA received an audio clip which was the defendant shouting at the dog which is now known to be Sooty.
“The defendant was arrested and the dogs were recovered.”
In the police interview, Johnson made full admissions and said: “I did not beat him up I slapped him.
“I did give him a bit of a pasting.
“I dragged him outside. I went over the top with him.
“I raised my fist at him.”
A few seconds of the audio clip of Johnson shouting at Sooty was played during court. Johnson could be heard shouting at the dog: “If I tell you to do something I expect you to do it.”
The dog could also be heard to be in distress when Johnson said: “Shut it.”
Speaking about Johnson’s cruelty, RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe said, “The audio isn’t very nice at all. It lasts for around five minutes and Sooty can clearly be heard squealing and whimpering loudly while being beaten, and Johnson can be heard shouting and delivering blows to the dog.
“It would have been difficult for someone to have to listen to the beating, however we are grateful that they had the initiative to record it as it gave us the evidence we needed to prosecute.”
“What it came down to was the fact that Sooty was going to the toilet inside the flat. Johnson said in interview that he gave the dog ‘a bit of a pasting’ as a result, and that he went ‘over the top’,”
Inspector Leafe said. “He also said in interview that he grabbed the dog by his testicles and said, ‘You don’t like that, do you?’
“He later called our national cruelty helpline and admitted the incidents, that he had also pinned Sooty down by his ears to ‘incapacitate’ him, and that it was because he was always messing in the flat.
“What Sooty went through would have been horrific and he would have been terrified to be around Johnson. But despite what he went through, Sooty is a lovely dog. Johnson told us that he was aggressive, but since he has been in our care he hasn’t shown any nasty traits at all. Sooty is so friendly and we hope he will find a lovely new home soon.”
12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; total fines and charges of £315. Eight-year ban on keeping animals (expires May 2024).