A man tied a home-made collar of stones strapped to insulation tape around his dog’s neck, a court heard.
Arunas Kastentinavicius, of Perry Close, Hanley, appeared at North Staffordshire Justice Centre charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The 26-year-old, originally from Lithuania, entered a late guilty plea through an interpreter.
Jacqueline Coley-Fisher, prosecuting, said on June 1, 2014, Kastentinavicius was confronted by shoppers about the condition of the dog as it appeared to be in a stressed state at Festival Park.
Police were alerted and found the toy factory worker walking the dog who was panting excessively from the heat and weight of the collar.
She added: “The collar had several points and edges which were digging into its neck.
“Officers removed the collar and the dog lay down, and in an officer’s opinion, was clearly suffering.”
Kastentinavicius was arrested and said in broken English the collar was to improve the dog’s muscles and make it stronger.
Veterinary surgeon, John Parry, visited the dog at a kennel on July 9.
He said the dog was aggressive and he was unable to closely examine it without anaesthetic.
The collar – which weighed in at 2 kilograms and 200 grams – was not used to train the dog to fight, Kastentinavicius said.
But the 26-year-old said he planned on increasing the weight of the collar over time, and the dog would wear it for one hour, two or three times a day.
He had previously said this treatment was normal and lawful in Lithuania.
Kastentinavicius was not represented by a defence solicitor.
“This breed needs special training,” he said through his interpreter.
“You can buy that collar legally for £50 to £60 on eBay so to save money, I made it myself.”
He added he would not have used the collar if he had known it was wrong.
“It is a member of our family and my best friend.”
Kastentinavicius bought a cat so the Staffordshire Bull Terrier would not be alone and he would bathe the dog, give it vitamins, and allow it to sleep on his bed.
District Judge McGarva said: “I appreciate you have come to this country from a different culture but it is clear to me that no culture would tolerate cruelty like this to a dog.”
He added: “It would be obvious to any human being that this collar would cause suffering.
“It is not possible for me to decide whether the intention was dog fighting or vanity and doggy body building.”
Kastentinavicius has been disqualified from owning or keeping any animal under the Animal Welfare Act for five years and must look for a new home for both pets by January 2015.
He also received a £380 fine and a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months which will run consecutive to the sentence given to him in crown court yesterday (October 23).