Bath farmer sentenced after dragging dog behind car in 'haunting' case of animal cruelty

Daisy suffered severe injuries and was put down 10 days after the incident. Credit: RSPCA

A farmer who admitted dragging his family dog along a road by a rope attached to his car has been given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 300 hours' unpaid work.

Kim Rendall, from Southover Road in High Littleton near Bath, admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the nine-year-old female husky-type named Daisy.

Bristol Crown Court heard when police arrested 65-year-old Rendall at his mother's home in Paulton, he was having a haircut and drinking a cup of tea. He refused to tell officers where the dog was being kept.

A search involving 18 officers and a drone eventually tracked the animal to a cow barn, tethered by its neck. It had suffered severe injuries and was put down 10 days after the incident.

On 17 April, witnesses saw Rendall driving a red Nissan Micra through the village of High Littleton.

The court was shown footage from a driver's dashcam of Daisy being dragged along the road for 55 seconds, a distance of about 0.2 miles.

Kim Rendall, from High Littleton near Bath, admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to Daisy.

When confronted by witnesses after he'd stopped the car, Rendall was said to have told them: "I will do what I want. It's my dog."

Footage depicted Rendall putting Daisy into his car and driving off.

When later interviewed by police, he said he "would never dream of dragging Daisy or any dog along a road" and that he was "shocked and devastated" by what happened.

He later said he was driving to his smallholding and Daisy had been in the boot of the car. He claimed he didn't know the boot was open and the dog must have fallen or jumped out of the car. The prosecution contested his version of events.

Victim impact statements, two of them from police officers, were made to the court. At an earlier hearing at North Somerset Magistrates' Court, Avon and Somerset Police officer Natalie Cosgrove said in 15 years of policing it was “the worst thing I have ever seen” and it will haunt her forever.

Rendall, previously of good character and said to have been living alone for 40 years, sat in the dock in tears for much of the 90-minute hearing.

His Honour Judge Longman told Rendall he was guilty of "a high degree of recklessness."

"The real need for urgent veterinary care was obvious but you treated that with arrogant disdain," he said. "Having realised what had happened, the most obvious response was to take them seriously and act accordingly, not to act as you did and ignore them.

"Much effort went into locating Daisy and you declined to provide the urgent assistance that was clearly necessary."

Rendall was also banned from keeping animals, apart from cattle and koi fish, for 20 years and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

RSPCA Inspector Kim Walters, who investigated for the charity, said: “Daisy was in desperate need of veterinary treatment but Rendall repeatedly refused to tell police where he’d hidden her, instead choosing to leave her to suffer with severe injuries while he had his hair cut and enjoyed a cup of tea.

“Pets are completely reliant on their owners to ensure their needs are met and they are kept safe and healthy. Ensuring animals are kept safe from injury while travelling in a vehicle and providing appropriate veterinary care is a key part of the responsibility we have towards our pets. It’s so sad that, in this instance, that responsibility was not met.”

PC Natalie Cosgrove from Avon and Somerset Police, who supported the RSPCA investigation, said: “I was shocked by what I saw when I first saw Daisy. I felt physically sick that this lovely dog had been subjected to such cruelty, whether by mistake or not. What really upset me was the fact she was disposed of and left in such pain for hours.

“Despite everyone’s best efforts, Daisy had to be put to sleep as her injuries were too severe and her quality of life would have been vastly reduced. This is one of the jobs which will haunt me forever.”