#TheList Brendan Murphy, born c. 1967, of Nantwich – stabbed his dog twice before throwing her into the canal to drown
Murphy, who lives on a barge on the Shropshire Union Canal, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to his poorly Akita dog , Tara, by stabbing her twice, chaining a heavy weight around her body and dumping her in the canal to drown.
The court heard how Tara’s body was seen floating in the Shropshire Union canal at Nantwich on October 6, 2018, and police were called. Officers then alerted the RSPCA
Inspector Andy Harris investigated and took the dog’s body to the vets, where a post mortem examination revealed she had been suffering from a lung disease for a number of weeks.
The vet also found she had been stabbed twice before her body entered the canal. Due to the state of decomposition her body had been in the water for about three weeks.
Some patches of fur missing on Tara’s body suggested the propeller of a barge had come into contact with her under water and this had freed her body from the item used to weigh her down.
Her microchip revealed she was owned by Murphy so Inspector Harris visited his address and he admitted Tara was his.
During interview, Murphy admitted he was aware Tara was unwell with a lung condition and had sought veterinary advice but could not afford the treatment.
He said she had died on the canal barge and so he buried her in woodland near Crewe where he was moored at the time.
He said in interview that he went to the spot where he buried her to pay his respects a few times but claimed about two weeks later her body had been dug up and said he had no idea how she ended up in the canal.
As it was suspected Tara had drowned, samples of her bone marrow were sent away for forensic testing – the first time this technique has been used in an RSPCA prosecution.
The test showed that Tara died from drowning.
In a witness statement, an expert vet told the court: “It is my expert opinion that Tara was suffering as a result of underlying ill health at the time of her death.
“It is further my expert opinion that Tara was alive when she was placed in the canal and that she was deliberately anchored down with a length of chain.
“The cause of death in Tara is hence in my expert opinion drowning.”
Inspector Harris said: “Poor Tara had a lung disease which was left untreated and therefore she was left suffering will this illness for a number of weeks.
“She was then stabbed in the abdomen twice before being thrown alive into the canal, where she drowned.
“It is upsetting to think about what she must have endured during her final moments.”
Sentencing: 10-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay a total of £415 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.