More than 1,000 cases of cruelty to dogs reported in Northamptonshire in 2015

Stephen Woodhouse,of Long Buckby, was given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted drowing his neighbour's pet dog
Stephen Woodhouse,of Long Buckby, was given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted drowing his neighbour's pet dog
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More than 1,000 complaints were made to the RSPCA about cruelty to dogs in Northamptonshire in 2015, latest figures have shown.

The animal welfare charity has revealed it investigated 1,020 complaints related to dogs and 463 complaints related to cats in the past year.

In total there were 1,838 incidents reported to the RSPCA.

The charity issued 1,409 animal welfare advice notices, up from 1,275 in 2014.

One of the worst cases of animal cruelty in the county in 2015 involved an airline pilot who was given a suspended prison sentence after he drowned a neighbour’s dog

Stephen Woodhouse, aged 53, of Daventry, admitted that he held the Border Terrier dog - named Meg - in a bucket of water for between a minute and 90 seconds until she stopped moving.

Meg’s body was then hidden in a bag in a hedgerow, before the man moved the dog’s body the next day and hid it elsewhere.

He then went to work and flew a plane before returning to the dog’s body.

When he returned home, he tried to cut the dog’s microchip out of her body to prevent her from being identified

if she were found and then drove to yet another location and hid her again.

But when the concerned neighbours asked if he had seen Meg, he said he had not.

The man eventually admitted what he had done when the police called making enquiries about the dog’s disappearance.

When interviewed, the man said he snapped, claiming that he had spoken to Meg’s owners about the dog’s continual barking but there had been no improvement.

A vet examined Meg’s body and came to the conclusion that Meg would have suffered massively while being drowned, as well as being under immense distress.

RSPCA inspector Michelle Hare, who investigated the case, said: “This was such a horrific case. Meg, a much-loved family pet, suffered horribly and her death would not have been quick.

“Initially, she would have felt an immense sense of panic. This would have been expressed in violent struggling movements and automatic swimming movements would have kicked in, as she would have tried to get to the top of the bucket.

“In addition to fear and panic, Meg would also have felt severe pain, as her oxygen levels in her blood dropped, her lungs would have become painful, and the urge to breathe would have become overwhelming. The action of water entering the lungs would have exacerbated the pain and suffering until Meg became unconscious.”

Woodhouse appeared at Corby Magistrates’ Court in May 2015, where he was given a 12 weeks’ prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay £2,400 in costs after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to Meg.