THE man accused of stealing and then beating a dog to death before dumping it in a bin has protested his innocence.
Barry Peach was widely named on social media as the person responsible for taking Misty, a 12-year-old family dog, from Waterlooville last month.
After a massive appeal to try and trace the beloved pet by owner Sherrie Murray someone sent the family messages saying Misty was tied up in Mr Peach’s yard.
While on their way to pick her up they received a further message saying the dog was dead and it could be found in a bin at Wellington Retail Park in Waterlooville.
Police were called in when the body was found at the back of Halfords.
Mr Peach, 34, of Mensland Lane, Hambledon, has since been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage in relation to the incident.
But he says he is innocent and that he has now become a victim to vigilantes who have targeted him, stealing German shepherd Angel from his barn.
The dog was found tied to a tree in Winchester. Mr Peach has admitted he is not allowed to have it back because it is in an emaciated condition.
He says he has been left scared by the accusations regarding Misty.
‘My cousin told me she’d seen something about me on Facebook,’ said Mr Peach. ‘I felt very distressed and worried.
‘I went straight to the police and reported it.
‘The police asked me about it and I told them I didn’t know anything about it.
‘I asked them if they could do something about what was on Facebook but they said couldn’t.’
He said: ‘I’ve been accused of taking a dog. People came up to my place, ripped the fence down and took my dog.
‘I wasn’t there at the time, I was dropping my friend home. But I got a call from my cousin who was there and she said they had taken my dog.
‘The dog was tied to a tree in Winchester.
‘But the dog wardens are not letting me have it back because they’re saying it’s emaciated.
‘I took it on because the people who had it before did not want it.’
More than 3,400 people have signed a petition set up by Ms Murray, called Justice for Misty, calling on the government to tighten laws and bring in stricter punishments over animal abuse.
Police have confirmed they are investigating the theft of Mr Peach’s dog but no arrests have been made.