A BARROW teenager who killed a dog by breaking its neck when striking it has avoided jail.

John Alexander Hall appeared at Furness Magistrates' Court and admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Yorkshire terrier cross, called Oscar.

RSPCA prosecutor, Mr Steven Marsh, told the court that the 19-year-old had been walking Oscar for his owner and he hit the dog with such force that he fatally injured the dog.

The Barrow court heard that the blunt force trauma caused by Hall had fractured Oscar's vertebrae and the animal, belonging to an ex partner of Hall's, had died from its injury.

The incident happened in Barrow on November 15 and the RSPCA brought the prosecution to court.

The court hearing on Monday was told that Hall suffers from clinical depression.

Defence solicitor, Mr Trystan Roberts, said that Hall is remorseful for his actions and he had pleaded guilty to the offence at the first opportunity. The defendant also had no previous convictions.

The magistrates sentenced Hall to a 16-week prison term which was suspended for 12 months.

Under the Animal Welfare Act, Hall, of Low White Close, Barrow, was disqualified for five years from owning, keeping or being in control of animals, or influencing the way they are kept.

He has also been placed on a curfew by the court. The curfew is from 7pm to 7am, seven days a week, for 12 weeks.

Hall was also ordered to pay £300 court costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

The presiding magistrate, Dr Alison Spurgeon-Dickson, said: "This was a dog in your care and you struck it with such force that it died."

After the court hearing, an RSPCA spokeswoman said: "Every day, RSPCA officers see some of the most unimaginable and shocking cases of animal cruelty. They work hard to bring animal abusers before the courts and to get justice for their innocent and defenceless victims."