A former magistrate who hit his dog on the head with a hammer, strangled her, then dumped its body in a river because she was “getting on his nerves” has avoided jail.
Melvyn Hall, 71, said the animal was “following him” around and annoying him, the RSPCA said.
A spokesman for the charity said that the six-year-old German shepherd, named Molly, had a piece of washing line wrapped around her neck when she was found washed up in the River Tyne on December 6.
By tracking her microchip, officers found that she belonged to Hall, of Ashfield Mews, Wallsend, the RSPCA said.
Asked about the dog’s death, the owner repeatedly changed his story, the spokesman said.
Appearing at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, the former NHS worker was handed an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, after admitting two counts of causing unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act, the charity added.
It also said he was given a lifetime disqualification on owning all animals other than goldfish, and told to pay £1,000 in court costs.
RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor said: “When the rescue called Hall he told them that Molly had died of a ruptured aneurysm and had been seen by a local vet, but he couldn’t remember the name, which he initially reiterated when I visited him the next day.
“However, in the interview that followed he said he had gone to the shop and come home to find her dead, before going on to admit hitting Molly on the head with a hammer, strangling her with the washing line that was around her neck when her body was found, and dumping her in the River Tyne.
“He said he did it because she was following him around and getting on his nerves and he lashed out.”
The RSPCA said it was suggested in court that Hall had been trying to hit a mouse with the hammer and inadvertently hit the pet.
Ms Proctor added: “The vet said that the attack on Molly from the person who cared for her would have caused immediate distress, which would have quickly passed into suffering when she received the blow from the hammer.
“They went on to say that the presence of the washing line and injuries to her neck, which were consistent with having been strangled, indicate that the owner was uncertain of the state of consciousness of Molly after she had been hit with the hammer.”