A WIRRAL man who punched and kicked his dog in Birkenhead as young children watched on has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Karl Groom, 39, launched a vicious attack on his three-year-old American bulldog, “Chico”, as he walked along Argyle Street South on October 30, last year.

Groom, of Church Road, Birkenhead, appeared in Wirral magistrates court on Wednesday, having previously pleaded guilty to the animal cruelty on January 17.

The court heard Groom had been reported to police following the attack after being spotted by a woman and her two children as they walked on the opposite side of the road.

Groom was witnessed kicking the dog in a way that Chris Murphy, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court was “as if he was kicking at a football”.

“He picked up the dog lead and lifted it off the floor completely by its collar and starting swinging at the dog,” said Mr Murphy.

“He held the dog at head height and started swinging punches.

“The witness had her 11 and eight-year-old daughters with her at the time who were extremely upset by seeing what was going on.”

Police found Groom in the nearby railway station smelling strongly of alcohol, slurring his speech and struggling on his feet.

Sinead Fearon, defending, told the court Groom had not taken his ADHD medication on the day of the offence.

She said: “The situation that Mr Groom found himself in took place a time when he was under the influence of alcohol.

“He had not been taking his ADHD medication at that time. He was in a very low point in his life and has suffered from stress the previous day and unfortunately he took it out on his pet.

“As a result of his actions his dog was taken off him and rightly so and he accepts that.

“He hopes it goes to a good home and that is his main concern today, for the dog.”

Christine Parry, chair of the bench, said: “This is a horrible case - this poor dog was abused by you.

“Although there is no lasting damage, you caused him physical and mental trauma.”

Groom was given a 12-month supervision order with an alcohol treatment requirement, as well as being placed under curfew for 12 months.

He was disqualified from owning or keeping any animal for five years and ordered to pay £600 costs.

RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes said Chico will now be re-homed.