A FOUR-month-old puppy had to be put down after a beating from its owner left it brain damaged.

When he appeared before Wirral magistrates’ court on Thursday, Shaun Cottrell admitted causing unnecessary suffering to his Staffordshire bull terrier cross “Dexter.”

He had previously denied inflicting trauma and physical abuse on the dog, but changed his plea to guilty.

The 22-year-old, of Park Road South, Birkenhead - who has no previous animal cruelty convictions - has also admitted failing to provide proper and necessary veterinary care and attention following the beating.

Chris Murphy, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told magistrates the charges related to an incident on December 22 last year.

He told the court a witness had been visiting relatives in the flat below Cottrell’s when he overheard what he believed to be an assault.

Mr Murphy said: “At 4pm in the afternoon the RSPCA witness was talking to someone in the communal stairwell when he heard blows and screaming coming from the flat.”

“He was aware that there was a four-month-old dog there and was concerned and went up to the property.

“He stated ‘I could hear you beating the dog’ and the defendant said he had hit the dog once because it had been misbehaving. The witness then rang the RSPCA.”

An inspector from the animal charity attended on Christmas Eve and found the dog in a poor state with injuries to its head, neck and left eye.

“The dog was on the outside landing pacing around in circles,” said Mr Murphy.

“Officers were concerned for the animal’s welfare as both its eyes were blood red. They felt it had suffered so the dog was seized.”

On examination by a veterinary surgeon, Dexter was discovered to have suffered “multiple trauma to the head” and the prognosis was deemed “extremely poor”.

Mr Murphy said: “It was shown that the dog was just walking around in circles completely unaware of where it was or what it was doing. As a result of the dog had to be euthanised.”

Further examination discovered a blood clot on the dog’s brain which was said to be between one and two days old.

Sinead Fearon, defending, said her client had no previous convictions other than one of failing to pay a railway fare in 2012 and asked for pre-sentence reports to be produced.

Magistrates said guidelines are for a custodial sentence, so it will be an “all-options report.”

Cottrell will be on sentenced August 22. He remains on unconditional bail until then.

Following the hearing, RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes said: “This is a case where a defenceless puppy was beaten so severely that the vet likened its injuries to being hit by a car."