A man has been banned from keeping pets after being prosecuted for verbally abusing his dog after he was recorded calling her a "dirty little mutt." Joshua Ponsford, 23, pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offence after being prosecuted by the RSPCA. The animal charity took Ponsford to court after hearing a recording of him verbally berating his dog, a Rottweiler named Lulu.
Ponsford was banned from keeping animals for five years at Bristol Magistrates Court on Nov 4, according to DailyMail. In the recordings, the dog owner, from St George, Bristol, can be heard shouting and screaming at his pet. During one recording, which was 59 seconds long, Ponsford can be heard saying: Get in your fucking bed now, go in your bed now, now, now you fucking stay there. You dirty little mutt. The recording also contains thuds and yelps before Ponsford can be heard yelling "you and your fucking ball dog. I've had enough of all your hiding toys" and "shut it." A second recording, which is 57 seconds long, also included examples of Ponsford's treatment towards Lulu.
His voice can be heard saying: "Going to walk to the shop again and get myself some bits. Don't even think of robbing" before a dog is heard yelping, whimpering and barking. The third recording of 17 seconds contains the sound of Lulu screaming before Ponsford is heard saying "I'll fucking ave you" followed by the sound of Lulu whimpering. As the recording continues, Ponsford shouts "move" before the sound of repeated thuds and Lulu yelping followed by Ponsford saying "go back into the room dog." Alongside the five-year animal ownership disqualification, which cannot be appealed for three years, Ponsford was given a six-week curfew. He must also complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirements days and was asked to pay £200 (264.62 USD) costs plus a £90 (119.08 USD) victim surcharge.
Lulu was signed over into the care of the RSPCA and is currently at Bristol Animal Rescue Centre where she is still undergoing rehabilitation. Staff say she is a lovely dog who has bonded well with her carers but still needs time to adjust to new situations before being found a loving new home. RSPCA inspector Miranda Albinson, said: Throughout these recordings the male, who can be heard, is clearly angry and can be heard yelling at the dog. Ponsford denied he had physically harmed his dog, but admitted his behaviour was inappropriate and that it caused Lulu distress over a period of time.
Veterinary Surgeon David Martin said: It is my expert opinion that undoubtedly Lulu suffered as a result of mental fear and terror as a result of the verbal abuse from Mr Ponsford as demonstrated on the audio recordings. It is well known and understood by the public that dogs respond to the tone and volume of the voice and that dogs are susceptible and will suffer from fear and distress if verbally abused particularly if this is recurrent or long lasting. Training and discipline of dogs is nowadays recognised as needing to be reward based so that positive achievements are rewarded and that negative behaviour is ignored and not reacted to. Physical and verbal abuse is no longer acceptable as part of dog training as it has been shown to be both ineffective and to cause the dog long term distress.