​Preston man found guilty of torturing puppy to death with non accidental injuries including cigarette burns

A man who caused a number of non-accidental injuries to an 11-week-old puppy, resulting in its death six days after buying him from a breeder, has been found guilty of animal cruelty by a jury.
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Dudley Payne, 28, of Braintree Avenue, Penwortham, Preston, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an 11-week-old American bully breed named Rocko after a four-day trial at Preston Crown Court, which concluded today (Friday). The court heard how the post mortem examination was the ‘worst’ the vet had read.

During the trial, the jury heard that the RSPCA was contacted by a vet after Rocko was taken in dead on arrival on 2 February last year. A post mortem examination showed a number of non-accidental injuries including cigarette burns, head trauma and an eyeball prolapsed from the socket. Rocko had been seen at the vet three days before for his vaccinations and was reported to be bright, alert and responsive.

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In a statement read in court, RSPCA inspector Emma Dingley said: “The vet received the post mortem results back and immediately contacted the RSPCA. He told me on the phone it was the worst post mortem examination report he had ever read.”

Dudley Payne, 28, of Braintree Avenue, Penwortham, Preston, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 11-week-old American bully breed Rocko (pictured)Dudley Payne, 28, of Braintree Avenue, Penwortham, Preston, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 11-week-old American bully breed Rocko (pictured)
Dudley Payne, 28, of Braintree Avenue, Penwortham, Preston, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 11-week-old American bully breed Rocko (pictured)

Inspector Dingley contacted Payne, who confirmed he had owned Rocko for six days and bought him from a breeder. When interviewed by inspector Dingley, Payne answered no comment to all questions. A vet who gave evidence in court said Rocko's injuries suggested "intentional harm".

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The puppy had a ruptured liver, head trauma, a partial hip fracture and abrasions consistent with being scratched by fingernails. He also had cigarette burns to his groin area. Rocko also had injuries to his abdomen and lacerations to his liver and had inhaled the contents of his stomach.

Payne’s defence said in court that Rocko’s injuries were caused by his owner while he was trying to do CPR on him, however this was disproved in court by the vet giving evidence.

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The court heard that further enquiries were made with the man who bred Rocko, who confirmed he sold the puppy to Payne and states he was the biggest of the litter and very healthy when he left.

Following the verdict, he was remanded in custody, with the judge describing the case which led to the puppy being “tortured to death” as “extremely troubling”. He is due to be sentenced on 20 October.