Saturday 1 October 2016

Woman jailed for strangling dog to death after wrapping its muzzle in duct tape

David Kearns

Published 29/07/2015 | 18:00

Hayley Cowan
Hayley Cowan

A woman who killed her own dog by wrapping duct tape around its muzzle and then strangling it has been jailed.

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Hayley Cowan (22) was sentenced to four months in prison at Wigan Magistrates' Court after she pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to her dog Beau.

Friends of the young woman returned the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to its owner only days earlier.

They had taken the dog away after they came across Ms Cowan repeatedly kicking the animal.

Beau, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Beau, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

When the friends called to Ms Cowan's home the morning after returning the animal, she said that Beau had run away.

Three weeks later, however, she admitted to them that she had killed and then buried Beau a shallow grave in her back garden in Tyldesley, near Wigan.

The case only came to light when one of Ms Cowan's friends dug up the remains and alerted the RSPCA.

A post-mortem examination was ordered after the dog was exhumed.

The results confirmed Beau died from strangulation by means of duct tape and the tightening of a collar.

Bruising to her limbs suggested she had been held down, the court heard.  

RSPCA chiefs called the incident "one of their most harrowing and distressing cases to date". 

Chief Inspector Cathy Hyde said: ‘"This was a very heartbreaking case to investigate and only made possible by witnesses coming forward.

"It was very traumatic and upsetting so I am very grateful to them.

"I hope the sentence passed today will highlight the seriousness of the case and hopefully give Cowan the opportunity to reflect upon her actions against her defenceless dog Beau."

The court was told that Ms Cowan has had a history of mental health problems.

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