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Liam Jones of Shrubcote, Tenterden, sentenced for tail docking as puppy yelps in pain

A 15-week-old puppy yelped in pain when RSPCA inspectors touched his tail after a cruel attempt to dock it.

Cocker spaniel Max was discovered in High Halden with an elastic band wrapped at the top of his tail that had been tightened with the aid of crimping pliers, leaving the end to become "withered".

His owner Liam Jones, 25, of Shrubcote, Tenterden, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a puppy by attempting to dock his tail, when he appeared before Maidstone Magistrates on Tuesday, and was handed a community order.

WARNING: Graphic images below

Cocker spaniel Max was rehomed after being rescued by the RSPCA
Cocker spaniel Max was rehomed after being rescued by the RSPCA

RSPCA Inspector Dave Grant said that Max had been rescued last July: "When we removed Max from the home he had an orange elastic band wrapped tightly around his tail.

"It was 1.5ins from the base of his tail and the remainder of the tail was withered almost to the point of falling off. I touched his tail and he yelped; he was obviously in pain."

He added: “Mr Jones was used to docking lambs’ tails and didn’t see any different in applying the same method to his 15-week-old cocker spaniel puppy, Max.

“He claimed his previous dog had suffered a de-gloving tail injury, which is when the skin is torn away, and he wanted to prevent Max going through the same.

The injury to Max's tail
The injury to Max's tail

Tail docking is illegal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, except for medical purposes or for certain types of certified working dogs, when the procedure must be carried out by a vet before the puppy is five days old.

“While Mr Jones told us that Max was intended to be a working dog, he was not registered with any groups.”

Insp Grant said. “He also admitted that he was unaware of the laws around tail docking and had used crimping pliers to apply the rubber band to Max’s tail.

“Tail docking is illegal under the Animal Welfare Act. It is a painful process, can impact on how dogs communicate and is often wholly unnecessary.

"We do not believe any animals should be mutilated for cosmetic purposes and that removing part or all of the tail should only be done for medical reasons.”

Max's tail was 'withered' after an elastic band was tied to it
Max's tail was 'withered' after an elastic band was tied to it

Jones was sentenced to complete a community order of 200 hours of unpaid work and 20-days of rehabilitation activity, to include attending the RSPCA’s pilot intervention programme aimed at stopping re-offending.

He was also disqualified from keeping dogs for two years and ordered to pay £300 in costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Chocolate-brown puppy Max was signed over to the RSPCA to be rehomed.

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