#TheList Stuart P Whelan, born c. 1976, of Dalton Avenue, Raffles, Carlisle CA2 7DY – kicked a stranger’s Westie into the air
The unprovoked attack on the tiny dog was outlined to magistrates as they heard several disturbing accounts of how Whelan – who was out cycling with his own dog at the time – abused other dog walkers.
All regularly visit Chances Park, near Wigton Road, where Whelan cycles with his dog.
The defendant had pleaded not guilty to two allegations of using threatening behaviour and causing a dog unnecessary suffering.
He declined to take take part in his trial because court officials refused to let him bring his dog into court. He was convicted of all three charges.
The first offence was on May 8, 2020, as local woman Maxine Denby walked her dog in the park. “I heard a dog squealing,” she said.
She described seeing Whelan lift his own dog into the air over his head, and then ‘slam’ it on to the ground.
“The dog was crying and in a lot of distress,” she said, adding: “I was in shock.”
Fellow dog walker Tony Peacock corroborated Miss Denby’s account, describing how after verbally abusing Miss Denby Whelan repeatedly cycled past her at speed, with his own dog sitting in his bike’s front basket.
Four days later, dog walker Patricia Guanlett was enjoying a tea-time walk through the park with her two dogs, including her West Highland terrier Cara.
As she walked across the grass, Mrs Guanlett saw Whelan cycling along a path towards her, his dog running along beside him.
Her dogs ran towards him, prompting him to throw down his bike and start screaming at her, falsely claiming one of her dogs had bitten his dog, she said. Mrs Guanlett said: “He said if ‘I see that [her] dog again, it’s dead.”
As she was putting one of her dogs on a lead Whelan ran at her West Highland terrier, which was simply ‘toddling along’ and ‘booted’ her, the force of the blow lifting the dog 18 inches into the air.
“I was terrified he’d hit me,” said Mrs Guanlett, who immediately grabbed Cara to keep her safe. Her dog was shaking, she said.
Of Whelan, she said: “His demeanour was horrific: so hyper and so aggressive. It was really, really scary.”
Since the attack, Cara had been wary of strangers. After she left the park, Whelan briefly followed her, she said.
Judith Keir was also walking her dog in the park. She had previously reported Whelan to the police for his behaviour.
Mrs Keir said Whelan’s dog was not bitten, adding: “Mr Whelan took what I thought looked like a penalty kick, literally running up to Cara and booting her in the ribs. It was deliberate.
“Cara was nowhere near the other dog.”
Whelan denied throwing his dog to the ground or being aggressive. He will be sentenced on September 27, 2020, after background reports have been prepared on him.