February 2015

Birkenhead thug who ripped puppy’s legs apart has sentence cut on appeal

A thug who snapped a puppy’s legs by ripping them apart had his sentence reduced on appeal.

Stefan McCormick, of Devonshire Road, Birkenhead injured the four-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier so badly that it was left whimpering in pain and had to be put down.

The 23-year-old either deliberately pulled apart Ty’s legs or swung him with force against a wall, experts ruled, leaving the animal so wounded it screamed when a vet examined him.

McCormick was jailed for 24 weeks in October after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

Wirral Magistrates’ Court said this must be served consecutively to a 20-month sentence he was already serving for battering his 17-year-old former partner, and mum of his newborn child.

He punched, kicked and dragged his ex-girlfriend along the pavement, despite at the time having a copy of a court order to stay away from her in his pocket.

Lawyers acting for McCormick at Liverpool Crown Court today argued that the 24-week sentence should run concurrently to the existing prison term.

Recorder Mark Halliwell, sitting with two magistrates, rejected that argument, stating that the two offences were “completely unconnected in time, place and circumstance”

But he reduced the sentence by four weeks after hearing how McCormick had suffered from mental health problems, pleaded guilty and had never been in prison before.

Ben Jones, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said McCormick pretended his pet had been hit by a car when inspectors visited his home in December 2013.

The dog was found on the couch, cowering under a urine-soaked blanket.

Mr Jones said the pain and suffering of the dog would have been immediately obvious, along with the need for medical care.

He said: “This falls in the highest category of attempt to kill and torture.”

Bernice Campbell, defending, said her client was sectioned after an incident at a police station on July 29, before he was released from hospital and decided to admit to the attack on the dog.

She said: “He is in prison and he tells me that every day he thinks about it and he is sickened by it. He said he had been in drink, his mind was not his own and he can’t recall what happened. He wants people to know this is genuine remorse. It’s not just flippant. This was a disgusting act.”

Recorder Halliwell said he was satisfied the offence was so serious that only a prison sentence was justified.

He said: “This was akin to an attempt to torture the dog followed by a significant period of neglect when the dog was in a great deal of pain.”