Dog’s head smashed with hammer and dumped in river for ‘getting on nerves’ of owner

Molly the German Shepherd was brutally attacked by her owner Melvyn Hall, 71, of Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, before being tossed into the River Tyne. The RSPCA were alerted when the tragic dog’s body was found back in December. Hall eventually admitted to beating, strangling and dumping the six-year-old pooch, having previously claimed she died of a ruptured aneurysm.

RSPCA Inspector Rowena Proctor said: “He said he had gone to the shop and come home to find her dead before going on to admit hitting Molly on the head with a hammer, strangling her with the washing line that was around her neck when her body was found and dumping her in the River Tyne.

“He said he did it because she was following him around and getting on his nerves and he lashed out.

“He showed me where he had done it, in his garden shed, and gave me the hammer he had used.”

Describing Molly’s injuries, Inspector Proctor added: “A post-mortem examination found that Molly had several fractures to skull and evidence of haemorrhaging however it was unlikely these injuries would have caused immediate death.

“The vet said that the attack on Molly from the person who cared for her would have caused immediate distress, which would have quickly passed into suffering when she received the blow from the hammer.

“The pain of a fracturing skull would be intense but the period of suffering wasn’t possible to establish from the post-mortem due to the decomposition of her body.

“They went on to say that the presence of the washing line and injuries to her neck, which were consistent with having been strangled, indicate that the owner was uncertain of the state of consciousness of Molly after she had been hit with the hammer.”

In a court appearance yesterday, Hall admitted two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to Molly.

However, the court was told he hit Molly by accident after aiming for a mouse.

The court heard that Hall was of previous good character.

The judge said he accepted that but noted he had told different versions of the event.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, a lifetime disqualification on all animals except goldfish and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

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