RSPCA: Man jailed after doorbell camera caught him dragging dog behind scooter - moments before abusing her
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A man who was caught on a doorbell camera dragging his XL bully-type dog along while riding an electric scooter has been jailed, for repeatedly assaulting her from the time she was a puppy.
Lucas Slim-Fitzpatrick has been sentenced to 19 months imprisonment at the Bristol Crown Court, after he was convicted of inflicting serious injuries to his 10-month old dog, called Luna, and has been banned from keeping pets for 20 years. The 27-year-old, from Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, earlier pleaded guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act, for assaulting and neglecting the dog between June and December 2022.
At the sentencing, a judge said Slim-Fitzpatrick had shown little remorse for his actions. “This was prolonged, lengthy violence towards an animal in your care who should have been protected by you rather than becoming your punchbag.”
A vet who examined Luna said she had suffered blunt force trauma injuries in at least three separate incidents. Ring Doorbell footage, which captured Slim-Fitzpatrick on his electric scooter immediately before one of the assaults, helped the RSPCA to launch the prosecution.
The footage showed the defendant riding his e-scooter along a service road in the Mutley district of Plymouth, while holding Luna's lead as she tried to follow along, on 30 November last year. A witness who contacted the police said he heard an animal in distress at the back of Slim-Fitzpatrick’s former address in Greenbank Road in Plymouth minutes later.
The court was told the witness saw the defendant “staggering around” on the scooter, talking aggressively to the dog before picking her up with both hands and throwing her six feet in the direction of a wall. Slim-Fitzpatrick was later arrested and Luna, who was found limping and unable to bear weight on one of her back legs, was taken to a vet, where an examination found her left hip and pelvis were broken. She had suffered fractures to her jaw and cheek bone as well as her ankles, and also had three broken ribs, three broken teeth and a badly bloodshot eye.
When he was interviewed by police in December 2022, the defendant claimed Luna’s injuries were caused by being struck by a car, kicked by a horse, and attacked by a Jack Russell dog. But RSPCA prosecutor Gregory Gordon told the court: “Expert veterinary evidence disproved the defendant’s various claims of accidental injury to Luna. For example, if she had been struck by a vehicle, there would have been evidence of skin abrasions or lacerations, and grit or oil in her hair.
“Radiographs indicated Luna’s different fractures were at different stages of healing, meaning that the injuries occurred on different dates," he continued. "It has not been possible to identify the number of separate incidents from the injuries alone, but records indicate that injuries were sustained by Luna on at least three separate occasions, including June 29 and August 2 last year.”
While Slim-Fitzpatrick had been in contact with vets on both of the earlier occasions, he declined recommendations for Luna to undergo surgery in June - citing costs. After failing to attend follow-up appointments, the dog was eventually signed over to the RSPCA in July. Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA inspector Miranda Albison told SWNS: “The assaults carried out by this defendant on this poor dog started when she was a 10-week old puppy and continued until she was 10 months old. It was absolutely horrific as she was repeatedly beaten and suffered many fractures.
“Luna had surgery on her femoral head and that saved her back leg as the other option was amputation. Happily she is now doing very well and we have been able to rehome her," she continued. “Without being provided with the Ring Doorbell footage by a member of the public we wouldn’t have been able to prosecute the defendant, as he denied being in that area of Plymouth at the time of the assault allegation.”