Monsters out on Bail After Burying Dog Alive with Nail in His Head

March 31, 2017 Update: Michael Heathcock and Richard Finch both pleaded guilty March 1 to the despicable cruelty they inflicted on that poor dog, whose name was Scamp. Each received a sentence of only four months in prison. They also had to pay about $400 in fines and, fortunately, are no longer allowed to have pets.

Heathcock was Scamp’s owner. He said he thought killing Scamp was the right thing to do because the dog was going deaf and blind, and becoming incontinent.

More than 100 people showed up at a March 31 memorial for Scamp. It was led by Reverend Margery Grange, who told GazetteLive, “We do animal blessings quite frequently. We don’t normally do memorials as a rule for dogs, but this is a special case.”

dog buried alive with nail in head“In all my 10 years working for the RSPCA, I have never known anything so horrifying and inexplicably cruel,” said Inspector Nick Jones. A local veterinarian said it was the worst case of cruelty he’d ever seen in his career.

They were referring to a small, fluffy dog — possibly a Jack Russell or West Highland Terrier mix — who was buried alive in Redcar, England. And that wasn’t the worst of it. A large nail had been pounded into the dog’s skull between his eyes.

A couple walking their dogs in the Kirkleatham Woods on Wednesday afternoon made the gruesome discovery.

“My wife said, ‘Listen, there’s a noise,’ but I said it was probably just a frog,” the man told GazetteLive. “Then when we listened more carefully, we could hear a slight grunting noise. I pulled the ivy back, poked about with a stick and saw some gray fur. Then I realized there was a nose in the mud.”

A man working nearby used a spade to dig the dog out of the shallow grave.

“I just couldn’t believe it. How could anyone be that despicable and cruel to do something like that?” the man said.

Although they rushed the poor dog to the closest veterinarian, he had to be euthanized due to his “immense suffering,” the RSPCA reports.

On Friday, two unidentified 59- and 60-year-old men who live in the area were arrested by Cleveland Police and charged with animal cruelty.

But today these two monsters are safe and sound in their homes, because they were both released on bail.

A public vigil for the dog was held this afternoon at the entrance to Kirkleatham Woods.

Meanwhile, Redcar’s MP Anna Turley has condemned the attack. Last summer, she  introduced a bill to Parliament, urging tougher sentences for animal abusers. The bill was inspired by the case of two brothers from Redcar, Andrew and Daniel Frankish, who repeatedly threw their Bulldog down the stairs and stomped on her head. The dog became paralyzed and had to be euthanized because of her injuries. The brothers were sentenced to only 21 weeks in prison.

“We saw with the case of Baby the bulldog and the horrific treatment of her by the Frankish brothers that the sentencing for animal cruelty cases does not reflect the severity of the crime,” Turley said. “It is not a deterrent to individuals committing awful crimes like this against animals.”

Hopefully Turley’s bill will be passed, and those two men will spend a lot of time in prison, thinking about what monsters they are.

Photo: RSPCA


Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!