Postman dog-kick charge is dropped

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A postman accused of injuring a Yorkshire terrier by kicking it across a patio had the charge against him dropped yesterday on health grounds. Billy Ace had been charged with causing unnecessary suffering when the dog was put down after sustaining a fractured skull.

But the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which brought the prosecution, told Swansea magistrates it wanted to drop the case because the postman has a heart problem and was not fit to stand trial. Later, an RSPCA spokes- man, Huw Evans, said: "It's not a satisfactory outcome because we do believe Mr Ace was guilty. But we do wish him a speedy recovery."

Mr Ace, in a statement issued through his solicitor, Graham Jones, said: "I have throughout these proceedings maintained that my actions were reasonable and feel that the evidence heard by the court before I became unwell wholly vindicated my position.

"The fact that prosecution witnesses had been bitten or assaulted by this dog in addition to those who came forward and volunteered to give evidence on my behalf, support my position that the dog was aggressive and, on occasions, out of control."

A Royal Mail spokesman added: "We accept the decision of the court and our main concern now is that Mr Ace is given time to recover quietly and peacefully." The Royal Mail also investigated the incident and brought no action against Mr Ace, who has been sent anonymous death threats. He will return to work when fit.

Mr Ace, 46, of West Cross, Swansea, kicked the three-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Ria, last June as he was delivering mail to its owner's home. Ria's owner, Neil East, told the court last week he had seen the postman kick the dog about 13ft across his patio. It landed on flowerpots.

Mr Ace said he had kicked the dog only to defend himself after it had bitten him. He suddenly said he felt "dizzy" and the case was adjourned. He collapsed outside the court and was taken to hospital suffering from an irregular heartbeat.

Doctors who have since released him, said it could be three months before he was fit enough to give evidence again.