Trowbridge pair plead guilty to hanging dog
Updated 1:21pm Thursday 21st August 2014 in By Andy Baber, Senior reporter for Trowbridge
A Trowbridge woman and a man accused of hanging a dog pleaded guilty today at Salisbury Magistrates Court.
Veronica Reid, 42, of Woolpack Meadows, Trowbridge, and Jon Allen, 27, also of Woolpack Meadows, changed their pleas to guilty. A third defendant, Paul Brown, pleaded guilty at the court on July 14.
The court heard how Allen and Brown, 52, of Okehampton Road, Exeter, went to a vets practice in Trowbridge on January 17 to inquire about having the dog put down after it had became aggressive.
They were told by the vet that it would need to be assessed before such a decision was taken. The vet noted that Brown and Allen seemed to be concerned about the cost.
The next day they decided to hang the dog, a collie named Shandy, which had been left with Miss Reid by an ex-boyfriend.
Sarah Wood, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: "They decided to take matters into their own hands, with the instigation of Miss Reid.
"They decided to hang the dog in the house the next day by hoisting it up with a rope in the attic. It took between five to 10 minutes to die in that position.
"It was checked to see if the dog had died and then Mr Brown punched and kicked it to make sure it was dead. They then buried it in the garden."
The matter came to the attention of the RSPCA in March after they had a conversation with one of Miss Reid's neighbours.
The prosecution added that there is a dispute between Allen and Brown over who went in the attic to hang the dog, but as both accept it was a joint enterprise, it should not make a difference when sentencing.
Esther Bisgrove, defending for Allen, said that there was dispute between him and his co-defendant, but he did accept it was a joint enterprise.
Nick Redhead, defending for Reid, said the dog had come into her house through a previous boyfriend and when the relationship broke down the dog stayed as a pet for her daughter, who has learning difficulties.
Mr Redhead added that the dog had become aggressive and said: "By the time things came to ahead, the dog had to be kept in a cage and everyone in the household was afraid of it.
"She did attempt to do the right thing and inquiries were made to the RSPCA among others about rehoming the dog, but when it was mentioned about it being aggressive these inquiries went nowhere.
"Inquiries were then made about the dog being out to sleep the day before the incident. When Mr Allen and Mr Brown came back to Miss Reid what swayed the decision was the cost."
Mr Redhead added: "This most extraordinary plan was arrived at and the dog died in the manner the court has been told of."
Both defence solicitors asked for the sentencing to be adjourned for a pre-sentence report.
Reid and Allen were informed by the chair of the magistrates that they will return to Salisbury Magistrates' Court on September 15 for sentencing, along with Brown.