Darlington, County Durham: Jon Soley

#TheList Jon Soley, born 13/10/1980, based at 1 Corbridge Crescent, Darlington DL1 2QH but as at October 2019 living at 1 Elliott Court, Darlington DL1 4FF – captured on video kicking his dog in the ribs and hitting the dog repeatedly in the face with a dead rabbit

Animal abuser Jon Soley from Darlington, County Durham, UK
Jon Soley was only banned from keeping animals for three years after being convicted of cruelty to his dog.

Mobile phone footage played in court showed Jon Soley forcefully kicking his Patterdale Terrier, known as Billy, after the dog had caught a rabbit.

Onlookers can also be heard laughing and cheering as Soley repeatedly hits Billy in the face with the rabbit.

Animal abuser Jon Soley from Darlington, County Durham, UK

Wildlife persecutor Soley initially denied causing unnecessary suffering to the dog and another of failing to meet his needs by not seeking veterinary treatment for a mouth ulcer, but was found guilty following a trial.

He also admitted two offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of possessing a cage trap and attempting to take a wild bird.

Kevin Campbell, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court: “He struck the dog and caused it to suffer. Anyone who treats a dog like that causes it to suffer.”

Animal abuser Jon Soley from Darlington, County Durham, UK
Jon Soley’s lawyer told the court his client had no previous convictions for animal cruelty.

In mitigation, John Grierson said that while he agreed the footage was disturbing, his client had no previous convictions for animal cruelty and had kept dogs all his life.

He told the court Soley had not sought treatment for his pet’s mouth ulcer because it did not appear to be causing him any discomfort.

“Billy was a family pet – he went out for walks with the children in the family. He will regret the loss of the dog,” he said.

Soley was arrested during dawn raids in May last year as part of Operation Stockholm – a joint initiative by the RSPCA and Darlington police to tackle animal cruelty in the area.

Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent said he was pleased with the result and hoped it would act as a deterrent for others.

He said: “This is a prime example of where we have undertaken a joint operation focussing on things that have been put on the internet and brought those people to justice.”

Billy was signed over to the RSPCA and magistrates ordered the destruction of the mobile phone and bird cages.

Sentencing: Ordered to pay £1,620 in costs, charges and vet fees. 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work. A three-year ban on keeping animals (expired September 2017).

Northern Echo

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