THIS is the scar left on a puppy’s throat after a dog trainer yanked her off the ground by her choke chain.

Alan Barton, who walked free from court with a fine, has been slammed by the RSPCA.

“This young family pet suffered unnecessarily as a result of wholly inappropriate handling by a person who, in my view, lacked proper qualifications and experience to be in the position of trust he was in,” said Phil Wilson, RSPCA prosecution case manager.

Gucci, a five-month-old Shar Pei, was taken to Barton’s dog training class in Thelwall by her owners on October 30 last year.

When Barton crouched down and put a choke chain around her neck the puppy became slightly agitated and tried to pull away, Warrington Magistrates’ Court heard during the three-day trial last week.

Barton, aged 57, of Heath Lane, in Croft, feared he would get bitten and so stood up, took a step backwards and held the chain away from his body.

But the effect of those movements meant Gucci was hoisted into the air by her throat and was left dangling for 20 to 30 seconds, her owners said.

Barton, who is 6ft 4in tall, maintained throughout proceedings that only Gucci’s front legs were lifted from the ground.

Gucci had to have an operation for a fractured hyoid, the bone structure that supports the larynx.

She also suffered lung congestion and respiratory distress, Judge Singleton said when sentencing on Wednesday. The judge accepted that Barton had not injured the dog on purpose but said he felt the injuries were ‘totally disproportionate’ to the risk that he would be bitten.

Barton’s lawyer said that it had been a ‘tragic accident’ and the dog trainer had not intended to pick the puppy up. He had been asked to put the choke chain on by Gucci’s owner, he said.

Barton is a dog lover with three dogs of his own and ran the training classes more as a hobby than a business, he said.

Judge Singleton said he was satisfied that Barton’s actions had caused unnecessary suffering but said he did not think Barton had done it intentionally.

Barton must pay a £450 fine with a £15 victim surcharge and £2,500 costs within 28 days.