A former Barnet footballer has escaped jail despite a judge slamming his neglect of a Labrador puppy with a broken back as 'unforgivable'.
Former professional footballer Anthony Thomas, 26, of White City Estate, and his girlfriend Krystle Stanislaus, 20, of Banstead Court, Shepherd's Bush, were banned from owning a dog for 10 years and slapped with three month sentences, suspended for two years, at West London Magistrates' Court today.
Just one week earlier, Thomas was given a two-year conditional discharge at Snaresbrook Crown Court after being convicted of assault for beating up a motorist in a 2007 road rage attack.
The pair, who have a child together, had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of neglecting a puppy called 'Cash' over a three month period in 2007.
In a pitiful video played at the hearing, the stick thin seven-month-old puppy was shown limping and whining in pain after suffering a broken back, cracked ribs and severe bruising.
It is still not known who caused the puppy the injuries, but a vet said they had probably been inflicted by 'receiving severe blows from a blunt or heavy instrument.'
The couple, who had not taken Cash for treatment despite its wounds, showed no remorse throughout the sentencing.
Mr Thomas, a former Barnet player, even shook his head in disbelief while being grilled by a district judge.
In defence, his lawyer Ross Johnson said: "He has been rejected from more high profile football clubs because they are not impressed with his involvement in the criminal justice system."
Stanislaus's lawyer added that she was 'ignorant of the appropriate care' for the dog.
District Judge Lachhar, who repeatedly said the pair 'deserved' prison, said: "I take a very dim view. For a third of its life the dog had serious injuries. It was in an appalling condition. I don't accept for a moment that no one was aware of these injuries. It could have been even worse.
"It's unforgivable and it takes ones breath away. It would have been much better to give it to Battersea Dogs Home rather than leave it in your care."
The fact that the couple has a sick son, who is currently in hospital, was given as the reason why a custodial sentence was not imposed. Cash has since been rehomed.