Tourists convicted of dumping dog in Weymouth

Two holidaymakers who were caught on CCTV dumping a dog in Dorset have been convicted under animal cruelty laws.

The dog - originally called Brandy but later renamed Ginger - was filmed in Weymouth sitting on grassland as a car was driven away in September.

Michael Hartley, 54, of Daisy Meadow, Preston, pleaded guilty at Weymouth Magistrates' Court. Jennifer Hadfield, 56, of Briary Court, was found guilty.

Both were given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 costs.

They both faced a charge under the Animal Welfare Act of failing to ensure the needs of an animal which they were responsible for were met.

'Dog bit child'

Magistrates heard Hartley and Hadfield had been on a caravan holiday as part of a small group, which included the dog's original owner and a child.

They alleged that the dog had bitten the child and the group decided it should be put down.

Hadfield and Hartley said they had driven around for more than an hour on 17 September in an attempt to find an RSPCA office but were unfamiliar with the area.

Image caption Hartley and Hadfield apologised for dumping the dog on an industrial estate

The decision was then taken to to dump the animal at the back of an industrial estate.

Police later tracked the car's number plate to Lancashire and they were charged.

Hartley told the court: "I thought I made the right decision but now I know I did not."

Hadfield denied the charge, claiming she had been the driver and was not responsible for the animal so could not be guilty of abandoning it.

However, magistrates ruled that as she knew what was about to happen and because she drove the car, she was to blame.

The dog's owner was interviewed by the RSPCA but has not been charged.

Outside court, Hartley apologised. "I shouldn't have done it and I'm sorry to everyone who has been upset by it," he said.

Ken Snook, RSPCA inspector, said an industrial estate was a "very dangerous" place for a dog to be roaming free.

"We all have a duty of care to our animals," he added. "It was a deliberate act, they came to a collective decision and the two defendants decided together that they would abandon the dog quite deliberately."

More than 200 people got in touch with kennel staff offering a home for the German Spitz Mittel.

She has since been rehomed in Southampton.

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