Torquay dog throw man Paul Sanders reunited with pet
A man who had his dog seized after hurling it into the sea will be reunited with his pet after a court heard he was a "good dog owner".
Paul Sanders, threw 10-year-old collie Shep from the pier at Babbacombe Bay, Torquay on 25 May.
Shocked onlookers reported Sanders and Shep was taken into RSPCA care.
Sanders, 47, of Babbacombe Road, Torquay, got a six-month community and supervision order but no order depriving him of Shep.
Sanders admitted failing to protect a dog from suffering, pain, injury and disease.
He sighed with relief after he was told he would be reunited with his dog.
He was ordered to pay £500 costs by magistrates at Torquay.
Speaking outside the court, RSPCA inspector Jim Farr said he was disappointed the magistrates had not imposed a deprivation order, which would have meant the dog would have been kept from Sanders.
He added: "I am surprised. A deprivation order would have sent out a strong message to irresponsible dog owners."
The court heard that onlookers screamed as unemployed Sanders, who had been swimming in the sea, grabbed his dog and pushed it off a stone wall, plunging it 15ft into the sea.
Shep eventually made its way to safety after Sanders was arrested by police.
Mervyn Williams, defending, said Sanders would regularly take Shep to the beach to play in the water.
He said that Sanders told one of the onlookers: "I will show you what my dog can do."
A reference read out on Sanders' behalf described the defendant as "a good and very dedicated dog owner".
Mr Williams added: "It is a simple, one-off incident in which he acted unwisely."
Chairman of the magistrates, Anne Tully, said: "We do feel this was one rash moment.
"We do not condone whatsoever what you did by throwing a dog off the wall.
"I don't think you need me to tell you that you will be watched incredibly closely."