Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire: Paul Atkinson

#TheList Paul Atkinson, born c. 1968, of Westray Street, Carlin How, Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS13 43L – threw dog from jetty in freezing waters of the North Sea

Paul Atkinson of Saltburn-by-the-Sea threw dog Jess into the frozen waters of the North Sea

A nearby fisherman was “astonished” when he saw Paul Atkinson throw terrier Jess 20ft from the jetty into the sea in Skinningrove.

An RNLI lifeboat had to be called to rescue the dog and Atkinson after he jumped in to try to rescue her.

Atkinson admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The court heard that he went to Skinningrove with some friends on September 30, 2011.

Prior to arriving at the area he said he had drunk two Newcastle Brown Ales and, while at the jetty, had a can of lager.

Helen Cox, prosecuting, said: “Mr Atkinson was seen by a fisherman on the jetty.

“He approached him and he said he saw Mr Atkinson pick up his own dog and throw it into the sea 20ft into water below.

“He was astonished and ran straight over.”

Mrs Cox said Atkinson then jumped in to retrieve Jess and placed her on a ledge, called a “H frame”, below the jetty.

She added: “The dog was popped on to the H frame and Mr Atkinson then climbed up.

“But the fisherman told him to go back and retrieve her because the tide was coming in. He did this and found himself in difficulty.”

Atkinson and Jess waited on the ledge for a lifeboat to rescue them.

Police were called to the scene and Atkinson was arrested.

Mrs Cox said: “The dog was in a state and was terrified. The fisherman said she was cowering.”

In court Atkinson disputed parts of the evidence, claiming that he dropped Jess from a height of 7ft into the water.

In his mitigation Atkinson said that he and four-year-old Jess wanted to go for a swim as it was a hot day.

The court heard that, after putting her in the water, Mr Atkinson thought she was swimming out too far so went to help her.

He said he got out but said a fisherman was then swearing at him and telling him to get her out of the water.

Atkinson said he got back in and the RNLI was called.

The court was told that Jess was “Mr Atkinson’s life”. He had rescued her when she was just a few weeks old and he had previously rescued other dogs.

Craig Beer, mitigating, said: “He accepts that the dog was placed from the jetty into the sea and that probably should not have occurred.

“He did see that the dog was getting into difficulty so, having been in with it and getting back out, he then went back in and stayed with it while it was on the lower part of the jetty.”

Jess has remained living with Atkinson.

Sentencing:
12-month community order with nine months’ supervision requirement. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs.

Teesside Live

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