A BRUTE who ‘battered’ a dog by hitting it in the head and throwing it in an aggressive manner has walked free from court.
Callum Ruane also callously enticed the poor pooch out of its cage in a purported act of kindness before roughly pushing it back inside.
The 21-year-old landscaper told police that he committed the ‘horrendous’ acts while abusing steroids to improve his performance in the gym.
But he was told he would not be sent to prison due to his prospect of rehabilitation, which the court deemed would be best served in the community.
Ruane appeared to be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Carmel Wilde, prosecuting, explained how the offending took place at a property on Savannah Place in Chapelford between September 24 and October 20 last year.
It involved a four-month-old male bull breed type dog named Dice, with the case arising due to witnesses calling the RSPCA after seeing the defendant abusing the animal.
On September 24, they heard a dog screaming, as well as shouting and the sound of something hitting metal, and when they looked, they saw Dice in a metal cage being punched to the head by the defendant.
On the same day, two witnesses heard a dog whelping for at least 10 seconds, and on observation they saw Ruane strangling Dice in a headlock.
They reported the incident to the RSPCA and were told to try and get video footage, which they did on October 3 when they saw that Dice had chewed a bag and a pair of sunglasses.
With a camera ready, they watched with horror as Dice screamed while being ‘battered’ by Ruane.
Footage played in court showed the defendant carrying the dog around by his head and neck, hitting him and throwing him roughly into his cage.
WARNING: Some readers may find the below footage, released by the RSPCA, upsetting.
He then entered the cage and started to hit Dice as he whelped, as well as poking him forcibly with objects through the bars of the cage and enticing the dog to come out before forcibly pushing him back inside.
The RSPCA attended on October 20, with an expert certifying that if the Dice was not removed, he would continue to suffer.
During an interview, Ruane said he was on steroids at the time to improve his performance in the gym and that they had ‘f****d with his head’.
He agreed that his behavior was unacceptable, but he said he was not in a right state of mind at the time and that he had stopped and would never use steroids again.
After examining the dog, a vet said that it had been caused to suffer ‘mental fear, terror and distress’ through ‘intended violence’, which is likely to have a long-term effect on his behaviour.
After being removed by the RSPCA, Dice showed behavioral problems which experts said were linked to the abuse and were a barrier to rehoming.
Vets also noted he had problems with his gait, leading to a diagnosis of hip dysplasia caused by an congenital condition which could not be treated.
The court heard due to the suffering caused by his pre-existing condition, a decision was made to euthanize Dice on welfare grounds.
It was stressed in court that the abuse did not directly cause severe injuries leading to Dice’s death.
Defending his client, Peter Gilmore referenced Ruane’s guilty pleas at the first opportunity and the fact that his behavior was ‘out of character’, with no previous convictions.
“It occurred at a time when he was abusing steroids. This is not an excuse, but an explanation as to why he was unable to control his anger at the time,” he said.
Callum Ruane was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court
“His anger was completely, unfairly and wrongly directed at the dog, and he regrets and is horrified by that.
“He is no longer using steroids and realizes they changed him, and his behavior was worse when he took them.”
Mr Gilmore spoke of how there is ‘another side’ to the defendant, with photos showing he is affectionate to dogs, and how losing Dice had a ‘significant emotional impact on him’.
He asked for the sentence to be suspended due to Ruane’s ‘realistic prospect of rehabilitation’ which could be managed in the community.
Before sentencing, recorder Richard Leiper said: “It was harrowing to see Dice being lured out of his cage by you, purporting to offer affection, only to abuse him. It was a complete betrayal of a young puppy seeking comfort.
“I am told you were capable of being loving and caring towards the dogs, but that would make your conduct towards Dice all the more distressing.
“In my view, these were separate occasions of deliberate and utterly gratuitous attempts to cause suffering, and they did.”
Recorder Leiper stated that the offense clearly could only merit a custodial sentence, however the defendant’s rehabilitation was best served outside of prison.
Ruane, now of Bewsey Road in Bewsey, was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months.
He must also undertake 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 150 hours of unpaid work, as well as pay £2,772 in expert, veterinary and legal costs.
In addition, it was ordered that Ruane be disqualified from owning, keeping or looking after animals for five years, with the order unavailable for challenge for two years.