A Bradford man has been convicted of hanging a dog until it choked to death, in a case described by an RSPCA inspector as the worst he had ever seen.

Inspector Dave Holgate was speaking after Bradford magistrates yesterday found Christopher Collyer, 25, guilty of three offences of animal cruelty.

The defendant’s parents, Mandy Collyer, 47, and Ian Collyer, 56, had admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animal by failing to provide veterinary care and will be sentenced next month alongside their son.

Collyer, formerly of Springbank Rise, Keighley, now living in Morecambe, had denied the killing by strangulation and prolonged maltreatment of a six-year-old Springer Spaniel named Charlie.

The dog was discovered by a member of the public hanging from its lead and collar from a pipe in a concrete bunker in woodlands near the defendant’s then Keighley home on June 10 last year.

A veterinary report found that the animal would have experienced prolonged suffering and pain having attempted to stand on its hind legs until they collapsed beneath it.

It was also found that the animal had a long-standing skin disease which would have caused it severe suffering and which had not been properly treated.

Collyer had claimed that his mother had told him to get rid of the animal as her new landlord would not allow her to keep two dogs and she wished to keep her other pet, a Japanese Akita.

He claimed he had attempted to give the animal to a kennel but had been turned away.

He told the court that while walking the dog one day he had come across a woman with a similar dog who had agreed to take Charlie off his hands. He further claimed that he was not in Keighley on June 7 when a key prosecution witness placed him there with the dog.

Harry Williamson, a neighbour, told the court he was adamant he had spoken to Collyer on the morning of June 7 and that he had the dog with him. He said Collyer had then gone to the woods with the animal returning half an hour later alone and covered with dirt.

Collyer claimed that he could not remember the conversation but claimed it may have happened at an earlier date.

The court also heard from the owner of the nearby kennels who said neither he, nor any of his staff, had been approached by the defendant looking to re-house the dog.

Collyer gave contradictory evidence in his own defence, muddling dates and contradicting a previous police statement.

Announcing the verdicts, magistrates said Collyer’s evidence had been “inconsistent, vague, confused and unbelievable”.

Chairman of the bench Shasta Asghar said they were satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Collyer was guilty of all three counts of causing suffering to the animal including one count of causing unnecessary suffering by strangling the animal or leaving it tied and causing it to be strangled.

She adjourned sentencing and told Collyer all sentencing options would be considered, including custody.

She told him: “Your evidence has been inconsistent, vague, confused and unbelievable.”

After the case Insp Holgate said it was the worst example of animal cruelty in his career. He said: “When I came across the dog hanging in the bunker it was horrifying.

“I have never seen anything like that in 15 years with the RSPCA and I hope I never do again.

“The poor dog must have suffered for a long time before dying and I hope the sentencing next month reflects my disgust.”

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until April 15 to allow reports to be prepared on Christopher Collyer.

e-mail: paddy.mcguffin @telegraphandargus.co.uk