An Aldingbourne man has been fined £882 and banned from owning a pet for three years after he was found guilty of kicking his dog.
Martin James Cox, 52, of Hook Lane, was walking his pet Rottweiler in Bognor Regis in the early hours of September 14 when a taxi worker saw him kicking his dog in the ribs, a court heard on Tuesday.
Cox pleaded not guilty to the charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Cox said he had been at Bognor Regis beach earlier in the day with pet Rocky.
He then went to a pub before making his journey home along London Road towards the railway station.
Nicole Redman, who works for Yellow Star taxis, said at Horsham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday: “I was outside having a conversation with some drivers and I saw a man walking down the high street, staggering all over the place with a dog on a lead.
“My thoughts were that he was obviously drunk.
“I saw him kick the dog in the ribs at least three times. It was quite a forceful, purposeful kick like kicking a football.
“It upset me and made me worried for the dog.”
Ms Redman called the police after seeing the incident.
Officers arrested Cox at about 12.10am.
Giving evidence, Cox stated he had not kicked Rocky but ‘swiped along him with his foot’ to encourage him to walk in the right direction.
He added: “Rocky wanted to go towards the sea and he was pulling against the direction I was going.
“I would never kick Rocky, he is my baby and I love him.”
Giving the verdict, a magistrate said: “There is no dispute that you kicked him from the CCTV footage we have seen.
“Most reasonable people would identify what we saw as a kick.
“It is clear you have no real recall of that night, you were drunk.
“As a dog owner you should have known that the act of kicking would cause unnecessary suffering and your actions could have been avoided.”
Cox was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and was ordered to pay charges of £392, costs of 300, a fine of £160 and a surcharge of £30.
Rocky is now in a new foster home.
Cox has been banned from owning or looking after any animal for three years.