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Larne Man Sentenced to Community Service and Animal Ownership Ban After Brutal Dog Attack

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In a recent ruling that highlights the importance of animal welfare, John Little, a 19-year-old from Larne, faced the consequences of his actions at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, February 28. Little, formerly residing at Wellington Green, Larne, was sentenced following his guilty plea to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog named “Diesel.” The charges were brought forth by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

The sentencing stems from an investigation initiated by the Council’s Animal Welfare Officer in August 2021. Prompted by a concerned citizen’s report of an injured dog discovered in a ditch in Inver, Larne, the investigation revealed a grim picture of Diesel’s condition. Rushed for emergency treatment, Diesel was found with severe injuries including a large, malodorous weeping wound on his head, extensive swelling and bruising around his eyes and mouth, and four puncture wounds to the left side of his face. Further examination through radiographs unveiled two fractures in the dog’s skull. Despite the severity of his injuries, Diesel underwent extensive treatment and rehabilitation, eventually finding a new loving home through Dogs Trust after a month of veterinary care.

Subsequent inquiries led to the discovery that John Little was in possession of Diesel during the time of the attack. A search warrant executed at Little’s residence in 2021 yielded crucial evidence, including incriminating photos and videos of Diesel on Little’s mobile devices. Messages recovered from Little’s phone revealed premeditated plans for the attack, implicating both Little and another individual.

On March 27, 2024, District Judge Broderick delivered justice by sentencing John Little to 180 hours of community service and imposing a 20-year disqualification order, prohibiting him from owning any animals. Additionally, Little was ordered to cover expenses amounting to £807.95.

Commenting on the case, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council emphasized the council’s commitment to upholding animal welfare standards. The spokesperson stated, “Council gives a high priority to the welfare of domestic pets and horses and operates a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements.” They further added, “The Council may also prosecute for offences such as in this case which I hope serves as a warning to anyone who does not take appropriate care of animals.”

It’s important to note that a second individual involved in the matter has also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing at a later date.

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