American Bulldogs taken in house burglary

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Two brothers have been ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to the owner of seven new-born puppies which went ‘’missing’’ following a break-in at his Halifax home last year.

A judge was told today (Wed) that the American Bulldogs, each worth an estimated £175, were stolen and had not been found despite the arrest of Lee Cooke the next day.

Cooke had taken the puppies and an adult male bulldog called Buddy after forcing his way into the unoccupied house in Grove Edge, Ovenden.

Prosecutor Dale Brook said the stolen puppies were part of a litter of 13 and the other six puppies were found wrapped in a cloth cover outside the property.

‘’The Crown say they were waiting to be taken, but the burglars were disturbed,’’ said Mr Brook.

The owner of the animals was able to identify Cooke from CCTV footage and when police went to his home the next day they recovered Buddy.

Mr Brook told Judge Peter Benson that the seven puppies were ‘’missing’’ and nothing was said during today’s hearing at Bradford Crown Court about their fate.

A female bulldog called Roxanne was also in the burgled house and the court heard that Cooke had initially gone to the property to recover that animal because it had not been paid for in full.

Cooke’s barrister Michael Collins said he had not intended to commit a burglary when he went to the house and Roxanne was the subject of a ‘’commercial transaction’’ between the parties.

Judge Benson noted that it was not a straight forward offence, but he said the victim had lost his valuable animals.

Cooke, 29, of Lemans Drive, Staincliffe, was sentenced to an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted the burglary offence.

He was also prdered to do 180 hours unpaid work for the community and pay £500 compensation to the dog owner.

His brother Lance Smith, 23, of Fieldhead Gardens, Shawcross, Batley, pleaded guilty to the same charge on the basis that he played a lesser role by helping Cooke to take away the animals.

Smith was made the subject of a 12-month community sentence which includes 80 hours unpaid work and a £500 compensation order.

Judge Benson said he had taken into account the fact that since the burglary last September both men had served prison sentences for an unrelated offence.