A stable lad kicked and punched his tiny Jack Russell to death - because it didn't want to walk with him.

Matthew Hammond, 32, drunkenly attacked the pet dog, with concerned neighbours calling police after hearing its distressed yelping and squeals.

He has since lost his job at a stables in Langholm, and has given up all animal ownership.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard how Hammond, of Scotland Road, Carlisle, was remorseful over the incident, blaming alcohol.

He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the two-year-old dog at Thomas Telford Road, in Langholm, last July.

The court heard how nearby houses heard the anguished pet's cries, and Hammond was seen attacking it and dragging it along the street for a hundred yards.

Fiscal depute Alison Herald told the court the brutal incident happened at 5.30am as Hammond, who had been staying with friends overnight after being out drinking, had been walking to his home in a caravan with his Jack Russell and a Pit Bull terrier belonging to his partner.

She said: “When challenged he had it in his arms and said it was dead.”

Police traced him to the caravan where the dead pet was lying in a blanket on the floor and they arranged a post mortem.

Solicitor Vicki Urquhart said the incident had a “catastropohic” effect on Hammond’s working life.

He had now left his job involving horses and had also given up ownership of a horse he had owned himself and had no contact with animals of any kind.

She said: “Despite the offence he had cared deeply for animals and was thoroughly ashamed and distressed.”

And she added that Hammond accepted it was clearly the result of alcohol and he had taken steps to address the problem and had not had any since.

Sheriff Brian Mohan imposed a community payback order and a ban on keeping any animals for three years, stressing to Hammond that this was an alternative to a jail sentence.

The sheriff said he regarded it as extremely cruel behaviour.

Hammond must be under supervision for 12 months and carry out 200 hours' unpaid work.