WARNING: contains image depicting animal abuse.

A Hertfordshire dog owner has avoided jail after hitting his dog with a wooden pole so hard that the wood snapped.

Tyreicke Williams, of Mill Link Road in Abbots Langley, appeared at St Albans Magistrates' Court on July 25 for sentencing after he admitted to inflicting blunt force trauma and physical violence on his bull terrier type dog, Nova.

Williams, aged 27, was captured on camera beating Nova with a stick while the grey and white animal cowered next to a garden fence on or around September 9, 2021.

In a video submitted to the RSPCA charity, two "bash" sounds can be heard before the person filming pans to show Williams hit Nova so hard that the stick he was using breaks into two pieces.

He threw the remainder of the stick at the dog.

%image(14498641, type="article-full", alt="Tyreicke Williams, 27, of Mill Link Road, Abbots Langley hit Nova so hard that the wooden stick he used snapped into two pieces")

The RSPCA charged Williams with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, an offence under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

After Williams pleaded guilty to the charges, magistrates in St Albans handed him an 18-week prison sentence, which is suspended for 12 months.

He must carry out 100 hours unpaid work, is disqualified from keeping any dog for five years, and has been told to pay costs of £4,634 plus a £128 victim surcharge.

RSPCA inspector Stephen Reeves said Nova can live the rest of his life without fear.

He said: "This incident highlights that it is never acceptable to physically abuse your dog."

When Inspector Reeves reviewed the video, he contacted the police who have the power to seize dogs who have been abused.

Police removed Nova from Williams' ownership, which has been made permanent by the courts.

Inspector Reeves added: "I am so pleased that we were able to help Nova and that he can now live the rest of his life without fear and we are grateful to everyone involved with this case."

%image(14498642, type="article-full", alt="Nova after having been removed from the defendant's care")

%image(14498643, type="article-full", alt="An RSPCA spokesperson said Nova is now "doing well"")

A vet's report into Nova read: "Nova’s body language is submissive.

"He has positioned himself to make himself as small as possible (so as not to be perceived as a threat), his tail is tucked between his legs and his head carriage is low with flattened ears.

"These are classic signs of fear in dogs."

After Williams received his sentence, the RSPCA confirmed that they are looking after Nova.

A spokesperson said: "Nova is being cared for at an RSPCA centre and is doing really well."