Who’s the victim?

PUBLISHED: 13:37 18 August 2006 | UPDATED: 19:47 01 June 2010

Christopher Wood at his chicken coop where the shooting incident took place

Christopher Wood at his chicken coop where the shooting incident took place

A RETIRED doctor – fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £5,232 costs for repeatedly shooting his neighbour s dog with an airgun – emerged from court claiming the legal system had failed him. Christopher Wood fired at Socks, a 10-month-old Japanese Akita-type d

Socks was the victim of the shooting and has since been made the subject of a control order

A RETIRED doctor - fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £5,232 costs for repeatedly shooting his neighbour's dog with an airgun - emerged from court claiming the legal system had failed him.

Christopher Wood fired at Socks, a 10-month-old Japanese Akita-type dog, amid a scene of "mayhem and carnage" in the back garden of his Fenland home after it had broken into his chicken coop.

"The message arising from that judgement is that the law is not capable of protecting its citizens," said Wood, who claimed he was trying to "pacify and subdue" the dog to protect the two remaining hens.

The trial before King's Lynn magistrates heard that two dogs had bitten their way into the wire enclosure and killed two of four hens.

An X-ray picture showing the damage caused to Socks’ face by the airgun pellets

Socks crawled under the coop so only his eyes were visible but Wood continued to shoot it 12 times in the head, chest and leg at close range.

Two vets agreed the dog had suffered mental and physical distress and the "prolonged attack" was "tantamount to torture".

Wood, 57, of Waterloo Road, Terrington St Clement, denied a charge of cruelly ill-treating the dog by shooting it with an air rifle.

After the hearing he said: "If you have a problem with a dog, do not resort to the statutory powers, the police or courts, but get a shotgun and shoot the dog dead.

"The victim according to the law was neither myself, nor my wife nor the chickens; and the owner of the dog bore no legal culpability for putting it in harm's way.

"The legal justice system is in need of a radical overhaul. If the medical system had evolved at the same rate we would still be amputating limbs without anaesthetic."

Ann Wadsworth, chairman of the bench, said the magistrates accepted Wood acted not unreasonably in initially using his air rifle.

But magistrates agreed "it was neither reasonably necessary nor justified to continue to fire repeatedly at the dog at close range over a period of 15 to 20 minutes when it was underneath the chicken coop and he must have known that he was causing it repeated injury".

Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Jon Knight said: "Animals need to be protected against such wanton cruelty and the RSPCA are here to provide such protection."

Socks recovered and has since been made subject to a control order, along with another dog who fled after Wood opened fire.

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