HOLIDAYMAKERS watched in horror as a drunken dog owner threw his terrified pet off Poole Quay and walked off as the drowning animal struggled for survival.

Quick-thinking Brownsea Island Ferries’ crew member Dan Hunt came to the rescue, using a rope hook to drag the exhausted dog to safety. Shocked bystanders refused to hand the bedraggled animal back to its intoxicated owner and called the police.

Paul Power, 45, was fined £100 for a public order offence and his terrier Scooby was taken to a Dorset animal rescue centre following the incident on August 7 last year. Power, of no fixed abode, failed to attend court proceedings but was found guilty, in his absence, of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Bournemouth magistrates fined him £150, ordered him to pay £250 court costs and banned him from keeping dogs for five years.

Prosecutor Matthew Knight said Power had grabbed Scooby by the scruff of the neck and flung him 2.5 metres across the Quay before the animal plunged 1.8 metres into the water below.

Mr Knight added: “Lots of boats were in the area; the defendant did not check before throwing his dog. It was his birthday and he looked drunk; he walked away. The dog was in the water for about ten minutes; he was soaking wet and shaking.”

Holidaymakers Penelope and Clive Homan from Bedfordshire refused to return Scooby to Power and an eyewitness told police Power had thrown the dog off the Quay before, sometimes up to 15 times a day.

Speaking after the case, RSPCA Inspector Graham Hammond said: “Hopefully this is a sobering lesson for Power; his actions were cruel and totally unnecessary.

“We are very grateful to all those who came forward and gave statements which helped bring Power to justice.”

Mr Hunt, 28, from Bournemouth, said: “I am an animal lover and it is a sight I will never forget. The poor little dog had given up; he was so exhausted he couldn’t get out of the water himself. He was a nervous wreck.

“A man held the dog until the police arrived, telling the owner he would end up in the water if he didn’t back off.”