A DOG owner who mutilated a puppy “because he liked the look that created” has been jailed for 10 months.

Benjamin George Burnside, 25, also ran up bills of more than £3,000 at high end hotels when penniless and stole from his grandmother when she was suffering from dementia, York Magistrates Court heard.

Phil Brown, prosecuting, for the RSPCA, said the cropping of Ares the American bulldog’s ears left them infected.

Burnside’s solicitor Steve Munro said he had several mental health problems, including dyspraxia, ADHD and depression.

District judge Adrian Lower told Burnside: “In this country, we try to pride ourselves on being a nation of animal lovers. There was nothing loving about what you caused to be done to Ares. The offence is so serious it must be met by a custodial sentence.”

Burnside, who gave his address as Riverside View, Malton, pleaded guilty to carrying out a prohibited operation on a dog in August 2016. He also admitted making off without paying a £2,320 bill, run up at the Feversham Arms in Helmsley between last October 16 and October 27, making off without paying a £982.75 bill at the Hilton Hotel, York, between last October 29 and November 1, a public order offence for repeating fighting with a 17-year-old at supporting housing in Norton on April 15 this year and failure to attend court for an earlier hearing.

Burnside admitted that the offences breached a conditional discharge imposed for the theft of cheques from his grandmother, fraud by cashing them for his own benefit and carrying a knife when he was arrested for the fraud.

He was jailed for 40 weeks for all offences, banned from keeping dogs for five years and ordered to pay £950, including £500 compensation to the Feversham Arms, £250 to the Hilton, £100 costs to the RSPCA and £100 to the CPS which prosecuted him for all offences except the dog offence.

Mr Munro said Burnside now lived on Universal Credit and had committed the hotel offences after someone had stolen all the money in his own bank account. Mr Brown said Ares was six weeks old when Burnside acquired him and decided to have its ears docked “because he liked the look that created”.

Burnside arranged for the operation to be done, but it didn’t go according to plan.

He got the initial £1,500 cost reduced and arranged to get documents falsely, declaring the dog had been imported from the US, believing ear docking was legal there.

Ear docking is illegal in the UK, other than for very rare and specific medical reasons, said Mr Brown.