A father has been jailed for six months for beating the family pet dog, whose charred body was later found discarded in woodland.

Wayne Pearce lashed out at six-year-old pet collie Jack after it bit him on the leg as he argued with his teenage daughter at their family home.

The 37-year-old, of Byland Court, Washington, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty last month to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog in March 2002.

The court heard on that occasion that, after beating the dog with a stick, Pearce then dragged the injured animal off telling his family it was ''going to die''.

Despite admitting the initial attack, Pearce maintains he did not carry out any further attacks and did not burn the dog.

At Houghton-le-Spring Magistrates' Court today, Pearce was also banned for life from keeping animals.

At the initial hearing magistrates were told By Clive McKeag, prosecuting for the RSPCA: ''This is a case of unmitigating cruelty and sadism by a man whose drunkenness and sadism caused the death of a family pet in a fashion that was sickening in the extreme.

''The story would sicken any right-thinking civilised person.''

Magistrates told Pearce today: ''We feel this event was so brutal and so violent that we have no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence.''

Pearce's solicitor, Gavin Sword, told the court: ''After this he was shunned by members of the local community and is still being shunned and ostracised now.''

RSPCA Inspector Michelle Charlton said after the hearing: ''I'm very pleased with the result. It's the maximum sentence he could get and I feel it's appropriate to the circumstances.

''If you are going to commit a brutal act of cruelty then a prison sentence should follow.

''Hopefully this will make people think twice.''