A man who kicked a dog to death after it attacked his pet has been convicted of animal cruelty.
Mark Jones-Reid, 48, was today found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a greyhound called Dougal on a beach near Whitstable.
He aimed three kicks at a greyhound called Dougal after it clamped its mouth on the foot of his miniature schnauzer Monty.
The fatal blow split the greyhound’s liver and killed him within seconds, leaving his owner “cowering and crying”.
Jones-Reid, of Woodpecker Glade, Rainham, denied the charge at a trial in July but was convicted at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
He escaped with a two-year conditional discharge but was ordered to pay £10,000 costs to the RSPCA.
At the trial, magistrates heard how Julian Taylor was walking Dougal and his other greyhound Daisy along a beach in Seasalter on May 25 last year.
Jones-Reid was also on the seafront with Monty, his wife Amanda and a friend.
RSPCA prosecutor Francesca Lewington told the court how Dougal attacked the smaller dog, clamping his back foot in his mouth, and was not responding to his owner’s attempts to pull him away.
“Dougal wouldn’t let go so Jones-Reid ran at him and aimed a brutal kick,” she said.
“He kept shouting ‘get off my dog’. He then kicked Dougal for a second time in his belly.
“A third kick was aimed at the dog. The defendant walked away at speed leaving Dougal on the floor not breathing.”
During the melee Dougal bit his owner on the thigh.
The three kicks caused fatal tearing to the greyhound’s liver.
Mr Taylor said he made repeated attempts to prise Dougal away from Monty without success.
He said he kept the greyhounds on a lead because they would “speed off” if he didn’t.
He said: “Dougal was clamped to his leg. He wouldn’t let go.
“The schnauzer was yelping at this point. After the first kick Dougal still held on.
“The third kick was the most vicious. I was on the ground and his right leg went past my face.
“It was very fast and very brutal. I said sorry but the man was just very aggressive.”
Cross examining Mr Taylor, Nigel Weller, defending, said: “I think you were petrified of letting the dogs off the lead.
“You stood there and did nothing. Why weren’t you doing anything to help the poor little schnauzer that was being viciously attacked by your dog?
“He continued to shake the dog, which kept on screaming.”
Mr Taylor said he was shocked and horrified by what he had seen.
Nurse Kathleen Whitworth had just passed the two greyhounds when she heard a row breaking out behind her.
She ran up and told them to stop.
She said: “The greyhound was being kicked viciously. The owner was cowering and crying.
“The greyhound died in my arms.
"If that dog had dropped Monty then we wouldn’t be here now. I acted because two big dogs were trying to rip my dog to pieces..." - Mark Jones-Reid
“I called the owner, who was in such emotional trauma.”
RSPCA Inspector Caroline Doe visited Jones-Reid four days after the incident.
He claimed he made a rapid exit from the scene because of injuries to Monty and his wife and made counter claims against Mr Taylor.
Jones-Reid said: “I did what I had to do to get Monty and my wife away from there.
“If I hadn’t my dog would be dead.
“If that dog had dropped Monty then we wouldn’t be here now. I acted because two big dogs were trying to rip my dog to pieces.”
Jones-Reid said he was left with no choice but to act the way he did.
“I heard Monty screaming, yelping and screeching,” he said.
“We turned around and saw two greyhounds attacking Monty. I was focused on the two greyhounds. I was focused on getting my dog.
“I was shouting ‘Get off my dog!’. The brown greyhound Daisy had him by the throat and ears and the black greyhound had his back leg in his mouth.
“The owner didn’t seem to be doing anything. I walked up to the dog and kicked it hard. I was fearful for my dog. There was no time to think.
“I kicked it in the rib cage but it had no effect.
“My wife was trying to release the brown dog’s jaws from Monty. I kicked Dougal again. Dougal dropped Monty to the ground.
“They’d had Monty suspended in the air.”
After kicking out at Dougal, Jones-Reid heard his wife screaming that Daisy was attacking Monty so he aimed two kicks at the greyhound.
He said: “I picked Monty up. He seemed limp and lifeless.
“All I was concerned about was Monty. I wanted to get him to an emergency vet.
“My wife’s arm was covered in blood where she had been bitten.
“The owner should have had more control over those dogs - they should have been muzzled.”
The group walked a mile to their car and took Monty to a free veterinary clinic in Gillingham, where he was treated.
Mrs Jones-Reid was treated for bites to her hand and arm at Medway Maritime’s A&E department.
"Witnesses gave credible and consistent testimonies which confirm that Mr Jones-Reid was out of control during the incident..." - magistrate Gillian Allison
Amanda Jones-Reid told how a pleasant walk had turned into a nightmare in a matter of seconds.
She said: “I turned and saw my dog was upside down and both dogs were pulling him.
“I thought the dogs were going to kill him. It was quite a savage thing to watch. I had 10 bites on my hand.
“Four were deep ones and I still have the scars.
“I heard Mark kick the black dog. There were two dull thuds.
“The brown one went for Monty again so I screamed at Mark and he kicked the brown one.”
In the melee, Mrs Jones-Reid grabbed Daisy’s collar and gave the dog back to her owner.
She said Monty was in shock.
“Those greyhounds were vicious. Monty was upside down and being pulled across the beach,” she said.
Vet Jeremy Stattersfield said Dougal died as a result of a kick which split his liver. He said he would have died in a few seconds.
Magistrate Gillian Allison said: "Having taken into account the previous good character of the defendant and that he acted proportionately at the beginning of the incident, I find that a conditional discharge is an appropriate punishment.
"I don't believe he has ever shown anything other than being a caring owner of an animal but the aggravating circumstances are that Dougal is dead and the mitigating circumstances are that Mr Jones-Reid acted impulsively to defend his own dog in a fast-moving highly-charged incident.
"Witnesses gave credible and consistent testimonies which confirm that Mr Jones-Reid was out of control during the incident.
"Dougal bit Monty and the first kick was justified. After a second kick Dougal released his hold.
"But a third kick ruptured Dougal's spleen and because of that we find that Dougal suffered unnecessarily.
"Monty was not shaken and we understand recovered fully four days later.
"Mr Jones-Reid was heard saying 'that dog bit mine so I kicked the f*** out of it'.
"Jones-Reid left the scene quickly without concern and not acting like a reasonable humane person under the circumstances.
"This evidence was a clear factor leading to our verdict."
RSPCA prosecutor Mrs Lewington called for Jones-Reid to be banned from keeping animals and pay £20,416.81 in costs.
But his solicitor, Nigel Weller, successfully argued: "I don't think it's appropriate that any disqualification order be made.
"There's no suggestion in this case that Mr Jones-Reid is incapable of looking after his own dog.
"In that split second he made a third kick unnecessarily and I think a conditional discharge and penalty costs are a more appropriate punishment."