#TheList David Rourke, born 04/12/1958, of 6 Farne Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 4BS – hit shih tsu Charlie over the head with a hammer and set fire to his body
The body of three-year-old Charlie was found in woods behind Mead Walk in Walker, Newcastle, in March 2017.
At a trial in November 2017, Charlie’s owner David Rourke was found guilty in his absence of failing to meet the needs of his dog by failing to meet his need to be euthanised in an appropriate and humane manner.
He appeared before Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 21/3/18 after being arrested on a warrant.
RSPCA Inspector Cathy Maddison said: “Poor Charlie was discovered when firefighters were called to extinguish a fire in the woods.
“He was inside a bin bag which had been set alight, presumably by a blow torch which was also found at the scene.”
Post mortem results found that Charlie died from a severe skull fracture as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, before being set alight.
It could not be determined whether he was struck once with immense force or several times in the same location.
Rourke gave no comment when interviewed and pleaded not guilty at the first hearing.
When he did not show up to court for the trial the case was heard without him and he was convicted.
In mitigation, the court heard that Rourke accepted hitting Charlie once with a hammer with the intention of killing him without causing unnecessary suffering.
He told officers he could no longer look after him.
He had tried rehoming him with family but it had not worked out, and he did not know what to do with him.
He had not attended the trial as he was working away.
Insp Maddison said: “Everyone involved in this case has found it upsetting to work on. I’d like to thank them all.
“We’ve been in the dark all the way through the investigation about what actually happened to Charlie and why as Rourke refused to give us any information.
“Whatever possesses someone to think this is an appropriate way to end a dog’s life is going to remain a mystery to me.”
12-month community order; 120 hours of unpaid work; £750 costs. Disqualified from keeping animals for ten years.