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Thurso man told he could have faced longer jail term after releasing dog in revenge plot

By Court Reporter

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A sheriff who jailed a serial offender for eight months told him he was “very, very, lucky”.

Sheriff Andrew Berry informed Dominic Long that had he been charged under the more serious level of indictment, he would have faced a heavier sentence of up to five years in prison.

Long admitted having culpably and recklessly put pedestrians and drivers at risk by deliberately releasing his Staffordshire cross puppy. His motive, he claimed, was to get his own back on a neighbour who had reported him to the police on an unrelated matter.

Sheriff Andrew Berry.
Sheriff Andrew Berry.

The 25-year-old, who has a record, also pleaded guilty to two unrelated thefts.

Fiscal David Barclay told Wick Sheriff Court on Thursday that a witness who saw Long open his garden gate and release the puppy on January 14, attempted, unsuccessfully, to catch the dog which ran around the street ignoring requests to stop. A dog walker also joined the chase.

Mr Barclay said: “A police officer on the scene eventually blocked the puppy’s path to the main road and managed to bring it under control. Thankfully, no harm was done.”

Long, of Holborn Avenue, Thurso, admitted additional charges of stealing a bicycle from outside a house in Dunnet Road, as well as a quantity of alcohol from McColls store in Provost Sinclair Road, both in Thurso.

Sheriff Berry, who said a background report reviewed Long’s catalogue of offending including those of violence, theft and reset, and commented: “It is quite clear that you think you are someone who believes he can do as he pleases.”

The jail sentence was backdated to March 3 when Long was arrested.

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