A man who killed his American bulldog-type dog after it attacked a young girl has been pictured for the first time.

Wayne McGrath, 47, beat the animal to death after it mauled Annie McFadden in Kinnaird Avenue, Belfast, in May last year.

He was sentenced to four months in prison on Tuesday after admitting charges of being the keeper of a dog involved in an attack and causing it unnecessary suffering.

The prison term was suspended pending an appeal. 

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The dog, which wasn’t on a leash, had continued to maul the young girl despite McGrath and another man punching and kicking it, the court heard.

A prosecutor said: ‘The dog caught up with the child and got on top of her, and was shaking her and mauling at her chest.’ 

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McGrath told police he killed the dog the next day by hitting over the head with a hammer twice before burning its body.

Annie was left with permanent scars after being bitten on the head, shoulder and arm at least 16 times.

McGrath claimed he battered his pet to death because he could not afford a professional euthanisation and had felt pressured to put it down after receiving death threats.

McGrath, of Marsden Gardens, Belfast, has also been banned from keeping animals for life pending an appeal.

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