A man who killed his then girlfriend’s dog has been jailed for 15 weeks and disqualified from keeping animals for 20 years, after a prosecution case brought by the RSPCA.

Bruce John Elliot (D.O.B 24.11.84) of Lordenshaw, Newcastle appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 8 August).

He pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act of causing unnecessary suffering to Smudge by inflicting blunt force trauma leading to her death and failing to provide prompt veterinary attention for her injuries.


He can’t apply for the disqualification to be overturned for 10 years.

The incident happened at his home on 26 October 2016, when his then girlfriend was not there.

RSPCA inspector Helen Bestwick said: “He told the court that Smudge wasn’t allowed upstairs but had gone up there and urinated on the bed. He said he chased her downstairs and a mountain bike, which was at the bottom of them, fell on top of her, then he kicked her outside.

“We’ll never know exactly what happened but when Smudge was found by a neighbour around 300 metres away on a patch of grass between the local social club and supermarket she was collapsed.

“Recognising her as sometimes being walked by Elliot, he was alerted to her plight and took her back to his home. When the neighbour enquired as to how she was and discovered she hadn’t been taken to a vets we were called.

“We believe the incident happened at around 6.15pm but unfortunately it was 8.30pm by the time we got the call about Smudge, who Elliot had allowed to suffer all that time. When I got there Elliot was aggressive so police had to be called.

“Sadly, Smudge died in the back of my van on the way to the vets. It was awful. A post mortem revealed she had died of internal bleeding. She had a ruptured liver with multiple lacerations, a hemorrhage near her right kidney and bruising between her shoulder blades.”

Eight year old Smudge had been owned by Franchesca Jones since being a puppy and was a much loved family pet. Franchesca was pregnant at the time of the incident.

Speaking after the hearing, Franchesca said: “I took Smudge everywhere with me. She was like my little shadow. I can’t describe how it feels to have her taken away in the way that she was.

“I feel like today we’ve finally got a bit of justice for her. It won’t bring her back of course but the fact that this man is going to be outed as the person he is makes a difference.

“The RSPCA has been amazing throughout this whole time, and I can’t praise the inspector enough.”

RSPCA inspector Bestwick said: “This was a difficult and challenging case to investigate.

“Not only did Smudge suffer a great deal, and ultimately die, as a result of Elliot’s actions but what he did has caused has caused enormous distress to Smudge’s owner and her family.

“It is never acceptable to harm an animal in this way.”

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