Hull man jailed and banned from keeping animals after killing girlfriend’s dog

A man has been jailed and banned from keeping animals indefinitely after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by inflicting blunt force trauma on her resulting in her death.

Christopher Michael Matthews, of Newlyn Close, Hull, was sentenced at Hull Magistrates’ Court on Monday 1 November.The dog, named Sasha was taken to PDSA Hull vets in February 2020 but sadly the female black and white dog had already died on arrival. The vet noticed bruising to the left side of Sasha’s head and suspected blunt force trauma so contacted the RSPCA.

Inspector Natalie Hill, who investigated, said:

The court heard how the vet report stated that the owners of Sasha attended the hospital with their two-year-old dog as an emergency. They reported that Sasha had been fine up to an hour before examination and that she had returned from the garden and collapsed.

The vet report stated: “On examination I found there was bruising on the left hand side of the head, on the gum and the lip on the right lower canine area.

"The white area of both eyeballs were both red, I also noted bruising on the left hand side of the chest and on the left hock. Initially the owners said they did not believe that Sasha was dead, since she had been breathing on the way to the hospital.

"I had to explain to them that there was nothing I could do to bring her back to life. I told the owners that I suspected Sasha had suffered blunt force trauma and I asked them if Sasha had been hit by something, or someone. The owners looked at one another and the woman responded, ‘Not by us’.

“Given the young age of the dog, the fact she was dead on arrival and a sudden death with signs of blunt trauma, also the lack of explanation from the owners for the trauma and cause of death I logged my concerns with the RSPCA.”

The vet concluded that the cause of death was blunt force trauma with injuries to head, neck, back and abdomen. It stated that it was highly likely that Sasha had survived a short period, between minutes to hours before the injuries she had sustained caused liver trauma. 

“In my opinion the needs of Sasha have not been met to the extent required by good practice due to the persons responsible for the welfare of this animal failing to protect her from injury, pain and suffering,” the vet report concluded.

Matthews pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18-weeks imprisonment, and was ordered to pay costs of £112, a victim surcharge of £128 and banned from keeping all animals indefinitely. This cannot be appealed for at least five years.