A County Durham man from who was filmed on a mobile phone beating his seven-month-old puppy has been banned from keeping dogs for five years.

Christopher Smith, 32, of Rutland Place, Consett, claimed he was drunk when he carried out the five-minute attack on Lazarus, who was seen cowering and trying to pull away.

The 32-year-old was prosecuted by the RSPCA after the charity was sent a video of the incident which had been filmed by distressed members of the public on a mobile phone in March of this year.


At a sentencing hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Smith was banned from keeping dogs for five years after admitting inflicting blunt force trauma on the young pocket bully type dog.

The court was shown footage of a white male - later identified as Smith - standing between trees holding Lazarus on a lead at an unknown location in Consett.

The puppy is seen trying to pull away and cowers down before Smith lifts his arms and heavily hits the dog on the back and shoulders with an unknown object.

As the dog continues to try to get away, a loud slapping noise - inflicted with some force - can be heard from where the incident is being filmed.

The Northern Echo: Lazarus pictured after his ordeal at the hands of Christopher Smith in Consett Lazarus pictured after his ordeal at the hands of Christopher Smith in Consett (Image: RSPCA)Following an investigation, Smith was visited at his home on April 4 by RSPCA inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws.

In her evidence to the court she said: “A white male, around 5ft 9 inches of slim build with dark brown mid length hair and a moustache, answered the door. I now know this person to be Christoper Smith. There was also a brown/red merle male pocket bully type dog known as Lazarus.

“I explained the reason for my visit. Christopher Smith advised me that the incident happened the previous Monday and he had been drunk and lost his temper. He confirmed it was him and Lazarus in the video.

The Northern Echo:

“The dog was friendly and boisterous around me but appeared to be hand shy of Christopher Smith. He confirmed he owned Lazarus and that he had not seen a vet since the incident or while in his care at all.”

Smith gave permission for the inspector to take Lazarus to be examined by a vet. He was also advised to remove hazardous items from his kitchen and stairs, but declined to voluntarily sign the dog over into the care of the RSPCA.

The video was shown to a vet who examined Lazarus later that day. He said it was his opinion that the puppy had been caused to suffer as a result of the attack, and he was taken into police possession under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.The Northern Echo:

The puppy was put on pain relief for three days, but thankfully appeared to have no long-term injuries.

In his statement to the court, the vet said: “In my opinion Lazarus had been caused to suffer by the mechanism of injury due to physical attack during the period caught on camera (approximately five minutes). The need for protection from pain, suffering and injury was not met by the intentional attack by the owner whilst under his care.

“The suffering was avoidable had the owner treated his dog with care and kindness as required. The suffering was moderately intense, and if the area of contact was a more vulnerable area, for example his face, the damage could have been life threatening from this type of weapon and level of force.

"The fear experienced at the time of the attack would impact his feeling of safety and a stress free existence in the future if he remained with the owner.”

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In addition to the five-year disqualification order, which Smith cannot appeal for two years, magistrates also imposed a 12-month Community Order with 20 RAR days and an £80 fine.

Speaking after the conclusion of the case, inspector Keogh-Laws, said: “Smith inflicted appalling and totally unnecessary violence on this young dog.

"Members of the public were equally concerned by what they witnessed and we’d like to thank them for providing us with the footage which has ensured Smith has been held to account for his actions.”

Lazarus is still in RSPCA care, he is doing well and will be rehomed by the charity."