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Man jailed for drowning partner's dog

A man has been jailed after drowning his partner's dog in the kitchen sink while drunk, the RSPCA said today.

James Stringer, 39, from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to killing 17-year-old terrier George.

He was given an 18-week prison sentence this week at Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates' Court for causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

He was also banned from owning animals for life.

Stringer said he let George into the garden as usual on the night of 29 June and that when the dog tried to get back in, he barred the door with his foot.

George then bit his foot, he said, and he lost his temper and held the dog under the water in the sink, among the washing up.

Stringer told the court he was an alcoholic who wanted to go to prison to "dry out", according to the RSPCA, who brought the case against him.

He had been drinking bottles of cider that night and his partner had been drinking too, but had gone to bed earlier in the evening, RSPCA inspector Claire Gordon said.

She came back downstairs later and saw Stringer standing by the sink.

He told her: "I'm really sorry, I've just killed your dog," Ms Gordon said.

Tests showed that George had died from fluid on the lungs, for which drowning was the most likely cause.

George's body was taken by the RSPCA to a vet for examination and was sent to the Royal Veterinary College in London for a post-mortem.

The vets concluded his death would have been traumatic, causing extreme panic and distress for at least six minutes before he died.

Ms Gordon welcomed the sentence.

She said: "The details of how George died are extremely upsetting. He suffered a horrible ordeal at the hands of someone who was supposed to care for him.

"I hope the sentence will serve to protect other animals from going through a similar, awful experience in future."