Craig Clarke pleaded guilty to willfully causing or permitting the unnecessary suffering of an animal between a date unknown and May 5 in Pembroke. *File photo by Kageaki Smith
Craig Clarke pleaded guilty to willfully causing or permitting the unnecessary suffering of an animal between a date unknown and May 5 in Pembroke. *File photo by Kageaki Smith
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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22: A former prison officer who admitted causing suffering to his 13-year-old dog was today given a conditional discharge.

Craig Clarke, 44, pleaded guilty to willfully causing or permitting the unnecessary suffering of an animal between a date unknown and May 5 in Pembroke.

Crown counsel Susan Mulligan told the court that on May 8, an SPCA officer, along with police officers, went to a home on North Shore Road, Pembroke after reports of an emaciated dog.

When they arrived at the home with a warrant, they knocked on the door and no one answered.

The officers walked to the back of the property and saw a Rottweiler tied to a tree.

Ms Mulligan told the court the dog, Sapphire, had bones protruding, numerous growths on its body and its skin was dry and scaly.

The officers took photos of the dog and soon after, Clarke drove up to the property.

He told officers the dog belonged to him and said it was old.

Clarke then got back into his car and drove away.

Ms Mulligan told the court the dog was taken to the vet and treatments were carried out.

It was then taken to the SPCA.

Clarke was contacted and signed ownership of the dog to the SPCA.

While at the SPCA, the dog was given dog food and biscuits to put on weight.

Tests were carried out and the dog was found to have tumours, was starved, had skin problems, anemia and fleas.

Ms Mulligan said due to the dog’s age and condition, she was put to sleep.

Addressing the court, Clarke said he wanted to put the dog to sleep but didn’t because of his children.

“The dog is 13-years-old. The SPCA did come to my house and I gave them a statement.

“I told them the only reason I didn’t put the dog down was because of my children. I fed the dog everyday and gave the dog water every day. I believe the dog was dying.”

He continued: “The dog was old and I said I would let the dog die naturally.”

Clarke also told the court he resigned from being a prison officer for this matter and another.

Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner said: “I think that he’s saying the dog was old and was given basic care but because of its old age, the dog didn’t respond.”

Bur Ms Mulligan said when the dog was taken to the SPCA, she gained weight after being fed food and biscuits.

Mr Warner said: “When a dog is old and incapacitated, is it the duty of the owner to give him the sophisticated medical care or put him down?”

Ms Mulligan said it was the duty of the owner not to neglect the dog.

Mr Warner gave Clarke a conditional discharge with a condition that he doesn’t own a dog for 12 months.

“Whoever don’t like that can deal with it in whatever way they want”, he added.