Evil owner repeatedly punched terrified cockapoo in head and placed her in strangle-hold

Thomas Hardy was caught attacking the dogs on CCTV
Thomas Hardy was caught attacking the dogs on CCTV -Credit:RSPCA

Sickening CCTV footage shows a man repeatedly punching an innocent and terrified dog in the head and swinging her by her neck.

Thomas Hardy was caught inflicting a catalogue of abuse on two dogs which saw him throw one with force into a lift before kicking her and then smashing the security camera. Another clip shows the female tan Cockapoo, being punched five times to the head, before Hardy placed a strangle-hold on the animal, compressed her chest between his legs and swung her around by the neck.

The security footage from Prior Court in Billingham on July 18, last year, shows him violently throwing the dog into a lift before kicking her under the chin. A second brown-coloured Cockapoo was yanked off his front feet on a lead during a separate incident at the tower block on July 28.

The distressing footage, which Teesside Live has decided not to publish, was passed to the RSPCA by the police and an investigation by the animal welfare charity followed. Hardy, 32, who admitted two charges of unnecessary suffering by inflicting blunt force trauma, physical violence and intimidatory behaviour, was given a 12 week prison sentence for each offence - suspended for 24 months - when he was sentenced at Teesside Magistrates Court last Tuesday, April 30.

He was also banned from keeping animals for 12 years. Magistrates heard how police, accompanied by an RSPCA inspector, visited the flat on August 2 last year and entry was forced due to concerns after there was no reply.

In written evidence to the court, the RSPCA inspector said: “Inside the property was a light brown Cockapoo type dog, she was very nervous and cowering down. The flat the dog was living in was very unkempt and smelt of excrement and had faeces littered around. The dog was seized by the police and placed into the care of the RSPCA and I put her in my vehicle.”

The brown Cockapoo, who didn’t belong to Hardy, was not seen at the flat and the animal’s whereabouts is unknown.

CCTV footage from July 18 seen by the court showed the defendant holding the tan cockapoo by the scruff of her neck as he pressed the door buzzer to be let in. He lowers the dog between his legs and holds her with his thighs compressing her chest as she is suspended off the floor.

He then places her in a stranglehold and lifts her further off the floor before cuffing her across the head with his right hand.

Other clips from the same day show the dog cowering from Hardy and trying to run before he grabs her by the scruff and lifts her off the floor. He places his free hand around the dog’s throat and carries her swinging in front of him. She is then thrown into a lift and collides with the back of it before Hardy kicks her under the chin and blocks the security camera.

The brown male cockapoo seen on CCTV 10 days later is initially wagging his tail as he follows Hardy. He is grabbed by the neck as the defendant violently puts a lead on him before being dropped to the floor and yanked off his front feet. His tail stops wagging and he is observed acting submissively.

In written evidence to the court the vet who examined the female dog and viewed the CCTV footage, said: “The individual in the videos is clearly seen to hit, choke, kick and throw the tan cockapoo. There is no reason to treat any animal in this way. The dog will have suffered physical pain and in addition showed clear signs of emotional distress.”

The vet said Hardy had inflicted pain and fear on both dogs and they had suffered unnecessarily as a result.

Magistrates heard that on August 6 Hardy was due to be interviewed by an RSPCA inspector at a police station about what had happened, but he failed to turn up. On September 1, during another visit to Prior Court the charity’s inspector was told he had left the property, and further attempts to make contact with him were unsuccessful.

Hardy, who will not be able to contest his ban for 10 years, was also given 10 rehabilitation days and told to attend a thinking skills programme and pay costs of £600.

Speaking after the conclusion of the case, RSPCA Chief Inspector Mark Gent said: “The video footage of these dogs being abused by Hardy multiple times was very difficult to watch. It’s hard to understand how someone can treat animals with such contempt and cruelty, and we will never know, as the defendant refused to be interviewed about it. We’d sincerely like to thank the police and the security staff for their assistance in this case which has been upsetting for everyone involved.”

The female cockapoo was looked after at a private boarding facility on behalf of the RSPCA and has since been happily rehomed.