Birkenhead man jailed for killing pet dog

A man who killed his pet Jack Russell called Charlie by inflicting blunt force trauma to his head has been jailed for 16 weeks.

Chris McCormick, of Birkenhead, was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years after he admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to his pet.

Wirral Magistrates’ Court were told at a hearing, on March 3, how the RSPCA were called to McCormick’s house by police who were in attendance on another matter.

Officers who attended the house on September 2 last year came across the body of the dog in a bag in the garden and reported the matter to the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspector Jenny Bethell was sent to investigate and during questioning McCormick said the dog bit his hand and he pushed him off the sofa but said Charlie seemed fine afterwards. He said the next day he found Charlie dead with blood coming from his mouth.

However a post mortem conducted by veterinary surgeon Sean Taylor said Charlie had sustained a blunt force trauma to the head and a further injury afterwards which caused his death.  The dog had a fractured skull and had suffered a brain trauma.

He added that Charlie would not have died immediately from the first trauma and said the injuries were consistent with “physical abuse in the home environment”.

In a statement he said: “In my opinion the evidence in this case indicates that the dog sustained injury to his head after which he remained conscious and capable of suffering allowing him to swallow the blood that had been caused by that injury. 

“This injury was later followed by a further injury to the left side of his head that rendered him unconscious with death following soon after.

“Histology of the haemorrhaged tissues suggests that this dog survived for up to a maximum of 4 hours after receiving the first injuries but may also have died within a number of minutes of sustaining those injuries.”

Inspector Bethel said: “During my interview with McCormick he admitted that he had taken on Charlie a year before after taking him from previous owners who beat him. McCormick also admitted to me that he had hit Charlie before.

“It is so sad to think about the suffering Charlie had endured.”

The offence McCormick pleaded guilty to:

  • That on or about 2 September 2020 at Harrowby Road, Birkenhead you did cause unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely a dog known as Charlie  and you knew or ought reasonably to have known that inflicting blunt force trauma to the left side of the head of the said animal resulting in a skull fracture and brain trauma would have that effect or be likely to contrary to s.4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006