Beds, Herts & Bucks

Man admits swinging Chihuahua around his head in Stevenage

Man swinging a dog from its lead while walking in Stevenage Image copyright Spotted in Stevenage
Image caption Footage of Alfie Loft swinging the dog around his head was posted online

A man who repeatedly swung a small dog around his head has been banned from keeping animals for two years.

Alfie Loft, 19, said he "felt disgusted" at what he had done, Hatfield Magistrates' Court heard.

The teenager from Hatfield admitted causing unlawful suffering to the Chihuahua, which belonged to a woman he had just met in a pub in Stevenage.

He was also given a 12-week curfew and made to pay £250 compensation.

Loft, who was arrested after a video of the incident was posted online, had been asked to take the dog for a walk last Thursday while he and his three friends went to a nearby shop to buy alcohol.

'Truly sorry'

Defence solicitor Natasha Patel said he was trying to encourage the dog to walk by pulling on its lead when it was lifted off the ground.

"The people he was with began laughing at the incident and that has almost egged him on," she said.

Ms Patel said Loft felt "humiliated" by what had happened and would write to the owner to show he was "truly sorry".

"He does love dogs himself, although he doesn't own any," she said.

Although the dog was not injured, its owner said it was distressed.

The incident happened at about 18:00 BST in Julians Road, Stevenage.

Loft, who was kept in custody over the weekend, is currently signed off work because he is suffering from depression, the court was told.

District Judge Carolyn Mellanby, who accepted his "genuine remorse", said: "He did this in a very public way which was distressing and alarming for members of the public to observe."

The £250 compensation will go to the dog's owner. Loft will also have to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

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