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I'm sickened - dog-swinging teen

A teenager who admitted swinging a chihuahua around in the air by its lead said he is "sickened" by what he did and that it was "completely out of character".

Speaking after the court case concluded Alfie Loft, 19, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, said he can hardly remember the incident because he had been drinking so much.

A video of him repeatedly thrusting the dog in to the air by its lead has spread across the internet.

He said: "I want everyone to know that I'm really sorry and it will never happen again.

"I was under the influence of alcohol and I don't really remember any of it.

"I feel sickened at myself. I am absolutely disgusted."

He said he met the owner of the dog who was "my mum's age" when she called him and his friends over to share a drink while they were at a pub in Stevenage.

The court heard she asked Loft to take the dog for a walk with him while he and three friends went to a nearby shop to buy more alcohol.

Defence solicitor Natasha Patel said he was trying to encourage the dog to walk by pulling on its lead when it lifted in to the air for the first time.

"The people he was with began laughing at the incident and that has almost egged him on," she said.

"He knows that was wrong."

Loft was banned from keeping animals for two years and given a curfew by a district judge at Hatfield Magistrates' Court today after admitting causing unlawful suffering to an animal.

Loft was arrested after the video, filmed by a member of the public, was handed to police and images were issued to the media.

Although the dog was not injured, its owner said it was distressed and was acting out of character.

Loft, who lives with his mother, said: "I really want to write to the owner to apologise, I'm trying to find out who she is. I'm really pleased the dog is OK."

He added that he has been told about media coverage of the incident and that the video was on the internet.

"I know it's going to be bad. It's not something to be proud of. It's terrible and disgusting.

"I don't know what my mum is going to say."

The incident happened at around 6pm on Thursday in Julians Road near the junction with Fairview Road in Stevenage.

Loft, who was kept in custody over the weekend, is signed off work because he is suffering from depression.

District judge Carolyn Mellanby, who accepted his "genuine remorse", said: "He did this in a very public way which was distressing and alarming for members of the public to observe."

She said his punishment of a 12-week curfew between the hours of 9pm and 6am was also to stop him from drinking alcohol.

He was also ordered to pay £250 compensation to the owner of the dog, £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.


From Belfast Telegraph