A MAN who kicked his pet dog to death in a “cowardly and vicious” attack has been jailed.

Matthew David Benjamin, aged 37, of Earlswood Road, Earlswood, Shirenewton, near Chepstow, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The one to two year old Staffordshire bull terrier called Diesel was killed at the defendant’s home in the early hours of December 4, Newport Magistrates’ Court heard.

South Wales Argus:

Staffordshire bull terrier Diesel. Picture: Christina Thomas

Paul Ricketts, prosecuting, said a witness, not named in court, who shared accommodation with Benjamin, heard him shout at the dog to stop urinating on the floor.

He said in his statement: “Then I heard Diesel scream and yelp. The dog seemed to be in extreme distress and pain.

“I could hear the dog being beaten repeatedly.”

Mr Ricketts told the court the witness added how he confronted Benjamin, who had been drinking, in the kitchen.

He said: “Matthew said, ‘This thing is going to die.’ I think he must have kicked the dog over 100 times.

South Wales Argus:

Diesel. Picture: Christina Thomas

“He was a lovely dog who was brutally killed for no reason.”

Judge David Parsons heard how a vet recorded that Diesel suffered wounds to his head and shoulders and “lacerations to the face”.

The dog had died after sustaining blunt trauma to its abdomen and head.

Mr Ricketts said: “After the defendant was arrested, he told the police he had completely lost his head and that the red mist descended.”

Andrew Twomlow, mitigating, said his client entered his guilty plea on the basis Diesel was kicked six or seven times, which was accepted by the court.

South Wales Argus:

The animal lovers who attended Newport Magistrates’ Court today, from left to right, Ruby Gittings, Jess Edwards, Aimee Bevan, Antoinette Helmich, Samantha Dorrington, Maria Bothcett, pictured with Spritzer, Bramble and Coco, Sara Leamon, Judith Pugh and Christina Thomas

In his probation report, the defendant said he was stressed at the time of the attack and was “gutted” adding that “the dog didn’t deserve to die”.

The court was told that the case had attracted considerable interest on social media.

Mr Twomlow told the judge: “The public outrage is understandable. The defendant has had his property and car damaged.

“He has been subject to a degree of vilification.”

The court heard Benjamin had only had Diesel for five weeks after being given the dog by a friend and didn’t know to train him.


The defendant said his new pet had destroyed his house and his property but added that the dog could be "quite pleasant" and had taken it to work with him.

Mr Twomlow said Benjamin owned a “successful business” called Honey Badger Construction and had at one point employed 20 people.

Judge Parson told the defendant: “This was a cowardly and vicious attack on a harmless animal and you showed no empathy for its suffering.”

Benjamin was jailed for 17 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life.

He must also pay a £122 surcharge upon his release from custody.

A group of nine animal lovers attended court to witness the proceedings.

One of them, Christina Thomas, 27, from Magor, said after the case: “I think he's scum. A monster and absolute evil.”