A man who was given £20 to deliver a spaniel dog named Alfie to a vet and a new life instead strangled and dumped the poor animal in a canal with his lead wrapped around his legs.
Daniel McPhillips, 26, then lied to the dog’s original owner Tammy-Lynn Burgoyne, 43, stating by text he had taken Alfie to the vet so he could be re-homed.
She later discovered the truth after Alfie’s body was discovered in the Forth and Clyde Canal, near the Underwood Lock House, in Allandale, and reported the matter to the SSPCA.
McPhillips from Broad Street, Denny near Falkirk appeared from custody at Falkirk Sheriff Court earlier today – arrested for his non-appearance on an earlier date. He denied asphyxiating the dog and dumping it in the canal in September last year.
The summary trial court heard Miss Burgoyne state she was having money troubles and had given McPhillips £20 to take Alfie, who she described as a “happy go lucky wee dog”, to the vets so it could be re-homed and have a chance at a better life.
Douglas Wilson, a volunteer co-ordinator with Reunion Canals, told the court he was walking his own dog when he discovered what turned out to be Alfie floating in the canal.
He said: “I have seen a lot of things floating in the canal, but I have never seen anything like that. I thought it was a badger because of the black and white colouring.” Mr Wilson said the dog’s lead was tied to something in the canal and he had to burn through the lead with his lighter in order to get the dead animal out of the water.
He reported the matter to the SSPCA and the organisation began an investigation, which involved posting information online.
This is what led Miss Burgoyne to realise Alfie had not in fact made it to the vets as McPhillips had told her.
The court heard evidence from an SSPCA investigator who gave details of McPhillips reluctance to meet with her to discuss the matter and his avoidance of her telephone calls.
An associate of McPhillips then gave evidence, stating McPhillips had actually admitted to him he had killed the dog, telling him “I didn’t ken what else to do with it.”
Giving evidence himself, McPhillips stated the dog had escaped while he was walking with it in the woods and he could not get it back. He said he texted Miss Burgoyne and lied, telling her he had safely delivered the animal to the vets.
After considering all the evidence, Sheriff Christopher Shead found McPhillips guilty and told him a prison sentence was a real possibility.
The sentence was deferred until December 18 and McPhillips was remanded in custody until that date.
A version of this story first appeared on our sister site The Falkirk Herald.