Puppy tortured to death: Owner Dudley Payne given longest prison sentence ever under Animal Welfare Act

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A man who tortured a puppy to death has been handed the longest prison sentence ever given under the Animal Welfare Act

A man who owned a puppy for just six days before torturing it to death is now behind bars. Dudley Payne was handed the longest prison sentence ever given under the Animal Welfare Act.

Injuries the 28-year-old inflicted on his 11-week-old American bully breed dog Rocko included severe head trauma, a partial hip fracture and a prolapsed eyeball. The dog was so badly beaten he was also left with a ruptured liver.

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The post mortem of the defenceless puppy also revealed cigarette burns to his groin along with abrasions consistent with being scratched by fingernails. He had also inhaled the contents of his stomach.

Preston Crown Court heard how the RSPCA was contacted by a vet after Rocko was taken to them on February 2 last year but was dead on arrival. In a statement read in court at the trial, inspector Dingley said she was told by a vet that it was 'the worst post mortem examination report' he had ever read.

She said: "The vet received the post mortem results back and immediately contacted the RSPCA. He told me on the phone it was the worst post mortem examination report he had ever read."

Puppy tortured to death: Owner Dudley Payne given record prison sentence for crimePuppy tortured to death: Owner Dudley Payne given record prison sentence for crime
Puppy tortured to death: Owner Dudley Payne given record prison sentence for crime | SWNS

Payne’s legal team said the pup had sustained the injuries because Payne performed CPR after his pet developed breathing difficulties. However, another vet who also gave evidence in court disputed this defence saying Rocko's injuries suggested 'intentional harm.' 

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Rocko had been seen at the vet three days before for his vaccinations and was reported to be bright, alert and responsive. When interviewed under caution at a police station by inspector Dingley, Payne, of Penwortham, Lancashire, answered no comment to all questions.

Payne, who bought Rocko from a childhood friend, denied causing unnecessary suffering to Rocko but a jury at Preston Crown Court took just 20 minutes to find him unanimously guilty of animal cruelty after a four-day trial last month.

At Lancaster Crown Court on Friday (October 20), Payne was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison and he was also banned from keeping animals for 15 years. Speaking after yesterday’s hearing, Inspector Dingley said the investigation would ‘stay with her forever’.

She said: "I will never be able to comprehend what happened to Rocko and why such a young animal was treated in such a cruel way. This investigation will stay with me forever, but I’m pleased that we were able to get some justice for this little puppy, and I think the long custodial sentence reflects the gravity of this case."