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Pet ban not ‘particularly appropriate’ for man who kicked dog in face

Dean MacLennan booted Bella, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, in an "unprovoked" attack as he walked along Union Street.

Dean MacLennan. Image: DC Thomson
Dean MacLennan. Image: DC Thomson

A man who kicked a dog in the head so hard it was sent flying backwards has dodged a pet ban after a sheriff said it “didn’t seem particularly appropriate”.

Dean MacLennan booted Bella the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in an “unprovoked” attack as he walked along Union Street in the early hours of the morning.

The 30-year-old claimed the dog had bitten him on the face, but CCTV and his lack of injuries did not support his version of events.

But MacLennan escaped being banned from keeping dogs himself as Sheriff Margaret Hodge decided such a move would not be “appropriate”.

She also commented on the fact that the dog’s owner had been on Union Street after midnight and what that could imply about them.

‘A dog which is commonly owned by those who move in drug circles’

Fiscal depute Kirsty Martin told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the incident happened on May 22 last year.

She said: “A woman and her friends were on Union Street along with her dog, named Bella.

“The accused, an acquaintance, was also with them. They were all engaging in conversation.

“Without provocation, the accused kicked Bella with his right foot to her face, causing her to be thrown backwards.”

A verbal altercation between the parties then followed which caught the attention of police who were appraised of the circumstances.

MacLennan told the officers the dog had bitten him on the face, but he had no marks indicating this was the case.

Ms Martin said: “CCTV showed the accused, unprovoked, kick the dog as described.

“The dog was at no point acting in a dangerous or aggressive manner.”

The court heard the woman who owned the dog sadly passed away shortly after the incident.

MacLennan, of Linksfield Court, Aberdeen, pled guilty to kicking Bella in the head.

Defence agent David Sutherland said his client maintained he’d been bitten by the dog and that the CCTV footage was filmed from “some distance away”.

‘There’s not any extended period of conduct in relation to dogs’

He said: “It was a Staffy, which is a dog which is commonly possessed or owned by those who move in drug circles.”

Sheriff Hodge interjected: “And who are on Union Street at midnight.”

Mr Sutherland agreed and went on to highlight his client’s struggles with his mental health and that he was a dog owner himself.

Sheriff Hodge told MacLennan: “Having heard the circumstances and heard from your solicitor, I’m inclined to deal with this by way of a fine.”

She imposed a £290 fine but with no time to pay, meaning MacLennan serves the alternative of 14 days in prison.

Turning to the possibility of a ban on keeping dogs or other pets, Sheriff Hodge said: “They don’t seem particularly appropriate here.

“There’s not any extended period of conduct in relation to dogs that would make me consider disqualification.”

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