Preston trio on trial over alleged treatment of pet dogs

A resident allegedly witnessed a man physically abuse four Staffordshire bull terriers.
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Trinity, Harley, Quinn and Petrol were heard crying as Steven Klein, 50, hit, kicked and threw things at them, Preston Magistrates' Court heard.

The witness's flat overlooks a communal area where Klein, who owns Harley, his girlfriend Melanie Harding - owner of Trinity and Quinn - and their lodger Kelly Oldham, Petrol's owner, keep their dogs.

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The neighbour reported she had seen Klein, or Rowan Avenue, Ribbleton, losing his temper, shouting and swearing at the dogs and being physically abusive on an "almost daily basis".

A neighbour reported concerns after filming Mr Klein with the dogs CREDIT: RSPCAA neighbour reported concerns after filming Mr Klein with the dogs CREDIT: RSPCA
A neighbour reported concerns after filming Mr Klein with the dogs CREDIT: RSPCA

All three deny failing to ensure the dogs' needs were met by failing to protect them from suffering, and are on trial at Preston Magistrates' Court.

An RSPCA prosecutor said: "The case involves potentially painful and frightening handling and control methods employed by Stephen Klein which were known and observed by Melanie Harding and Kelly Oldham and they failed to protect their dogs from Stephen Klein.

"She has observed the dogs cry out after being hurt and they appear scared of Mr Klein. She has provided CCTV video of the communal area showing various incidents that

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have occurred and this video corroborates her written description of the incidents."

The matter was reported to Gateway Housing who in turn reported it to the RSPCA, which collected copies of the video clips.

They were shown to vet, Angus Mackenzie, who considered Klein was consistently aggressive, chasing and threatening to kick and hit them, sometimes with the use of a flexible plastic stick.

One video shows Klein appearing to kick a lighter coloured dog, which ran away lame in the right hind leg.

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The dogs appear to avoid Klein before he allegedly reaches out to slap the dogs, and then grabs one, holds it down and forcibly slaps it.

In another clip Klein tries to sweep the enclosure with a brush, before becoming angry and allegedly swiping at the dog with the broom, hitting its head.

Further video evidence allegedly shows Klein pick up a ball and throw it forcefully at a dog, into its side, as it tries to run past.

In interview Klein claimed that he would use a stick to "control" the dogs but did not physically touch them to reprimand them.

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He claimed that he would put his foot between them if they were fighting and would also throw a tennis ball at them. He suggested that the dogs were loved and well looked


After being shown the video clips Klein claimed that he was "just playing" with the dogs.

The verdicts of the magistrates will now be delivered on a date still to be arranged, due to court delays caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.