Leicester: Luke Keeber

Luke Keeber, born 03/11/1991, of Fairburn House, Aikman Avenue, Leicester LE3 9JT – violently assaulted a 7-month-old puppyConvicted dog abuser Luke Keeber from Leicester

Keeber, who had pleaded not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, was at his ex-girlfriend’s house in Biddle Road, New Parks, Leicester, on June 20, 2017, when a neighbour heard what she described as a dog “screaming”, Leicester magistrates were told.

The neighbour, Josephine Sutton, called the police and they went to the property and recovered the injured seven-month-old female bull mastiff puppy, called Mercy.

During a trial at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Monday 08/01/2018, Mrs Sutton said: “I was at home in the back garden and I heard Luke shouting at the dog. I heard the dog screaming and yelping.

“I heard thudding as though the dog was being kicked at the fence or thrown into it.”

PC Michael Coulter, who attended the home of Keeber’s ex-partner, Candice Wolverson, said in a statement read out in court: “The dog was shaking, soaking wet and not aggressive.

“I called the dog to me and could see both of Mercy’s eyes were bloodshot and swollen. Mercy was unsteady on its legs.

“Mercy was cowering from Keeber and pushed itself into my legs and was pawing at me for affection.”

The dog belonged to Keeber but lived with Wolverson and the three young children the pair have between them. Wolverson (DoB 07/02/1988) of Biddle Road, Leicester, was also charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal but during the trial the magistrates decided there was not enough evidence against her and the case was dropped.

Keeber later told police he had seen his two-year-old son pulling Mercy’s tail. He said Mercy was growling and trying to nip at his son so he “slapped” the dog once in the face and then used the hose on her as a punishment.

Giving evidence at the trial, Keeber said: “She was trying to jump round and snap at him. I run at her and punched her straight in the face.

“I did want to hurt her because I was extremely emotional. I hosed her down.”

Keeber told the court: “I feel like a scumbag for hosing her down but I protected my child from a dog bite.”

However, the court heard Mercy was found to have not only haemorrhages in both eyes and swelling to her temple but also “crush” injuries to one paw, grazes and soreness under one leg and lesions and other bruises. The magistrates decided the number of injuries was inconsistent with Keeber’s account.

Keeber was found guilty of animal cruelty.

Sentence: 120 hours of unpaid work, total of £335 towards costs and charges; banned from keeping a dog for five years (expires January 2023).

Leicester Mercury