#TheList Kevin Charles Howard and wife Christine Anne Howard (nee Walker), Park Street, Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire PE8 6XN – battered a border terrier puppy named Winston with a gun and strangled him to death supposedly as an act of self-defence
Kevin Charles Howard, aged 57 (b. July 1961), faced magistrates in Northampton on Monday 20/8/18 with wife Christine, aged 71 (b. March 1947). Both were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The court heard the Howards saw their neighbours’ border terrier puppy Winston with one of their chickens in his mouth on August 1, 2017 in a scene described as ‘carnage’.
Mrs Howard caught the dog and shouted at her husband to ‘get the gun’ before passing Winston to her husband as he bit him.
An eyewitness said she heard Mr Howard hit Winston with the barrel of his gun ‘eight or nine times’ as he sat on him, although Mr Howard said he only hit the dog three times.
Former company director Mr Howard held Winston by the scruff of his neck in an attempt to prise his jaw off him but strangled him in the process. He carried the dog out to the drive by his legs, covered in blood from a chicken, as the dog’s owner and his 10-year-old son arrived.
He then said: “I doubt it will survive.”
A vet said the dog died from strangulation.
In a victim statement read out in court, Winston’s owner described Howard’s actions as ‘unspeakable’ and a ‘cruel way to kill a puppy’.
The court heard the dog had previously killed 16 of the Howards’ chickens – which the dog’s owner had compensated them for – and chased a cat inside their house.
Mitigating, Andy Cave said the Howards were not animal abusers but animal lovers. He said: “They’ve spent years rescuing animals, looking after stray animals and cats and dogs at their own expense.
“Their chicken coup could be described as a five star chicken coup.”
Mr Howard reported the incident to the police himself and said he was distraught at what had happened. He told officers he had killed the dog with his bare hands but the court heard police initially told him he had done nothing wrong as he was protecting his livestock.
Mr Cave added: “They did not try to shoot the dog because that’s not in their nature.
“He had to try and get the dog off him. They’ve never done anything like this before and they will never do it again.”
The Howards denied the charges they faced but were found guilty after a day-long trial earlier this year. The court heard the trial placed such a strain on Mrs Howard she collapsed outside court and had to be resuscitated.
Sentence: Kevin Howard – 12-month community order with 10 days of rehabilitation requirements; ordered to pay compensation to the family of £212.50, £75 to the 10-year-old boy and a victim surcharge of £85. Christine Howard – fined £98 plus victim surcharge of £30. The pair must also pay trial court costs of £775 between them.