A DOG thief snatched a beloved pet on a lead from its owner so forcefully that it left the victim’s hand sore.
Lloyd Bellamy struck up a conversation with Michael Pindur in the street.
But then suddenly the 21-year-old grabbed the lead of Puma, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and ran off.
Devastated, the victim told the police the dog ‘was his world’, a court heard.
Now Bellamy, of Greetham Street, Southsea, has been spared jail after admitting theft and assault by beating.
The theft took place in Portsmouth on June 8 last year.
Sentencing, Judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘This offence involved you out at night confronting a man who had his dog with him, initially behaving in a friendly way to him but then forcing the lead out of the man’s hand causing soreness.
‘And when he tried grabbing the dog’s lead back, you pushed him away and called him a foul name.’
She added: ‘It has not been recovered and the man described that dog as having meant the world to him.’
The judge handed Bellamy a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
‘That’s a very long time, you’ve never managed to stay out of trouble for two years,’ the judge added.
And Judge Munro said she hoped every time he thought of doing something impulsively he would think of the consequences.
‘That I hope will terrify you because you didn’t like it when you were in custody before,’ Judge Munro added.
Bellamy must complete a three-month tagged curfew between 8pm and 6am.
At an earlier hearing Hannah Duncan, for Bellamy, said the defendant had not sold the animal but got a taxi and gave the dog away to the Aqua Cars driver’s friend.
The court heard there was no evidence to support this.
Hugh French, for Bellamy at the sentencing hearing, said the defendant had mental health problems and autism and acted impulsively.
He said: ‘This is a man who has had a background of difficulties.
‘He really does feel he has turned a corner.’
Bellamy has a previous conviction for possession of a bladed article, for which he was given a community order.
He was originally charged with robbery over the dog incident, but that was dropped after he pleaded guilty to theft and assault by beating at an earlier hearing.
The dog has not been seen since the theft.