A judge has called a female Pit Bull to the stand as a witness in an animal abuse trial against its former owner who is accused of locking the adorable dog in a suitcase and throwing it in the rubbish.
According to local media, Judge Sandra Barrera at Penal Court 1 in the city of Santa Cruz, capital of Tenerife in the Spanish region of the Canary Islands, stunned attendees when she called “the damaged witness, the dog called Milagros”.
Prosecutor Francisca Sanchez told the court “obviously, the witness cannot talk” before a forensic doctor explaining to the judge the injuries it suffered and how it currently appears to be doing.
A court spokesperson explained that the decision to call the Pit Bull to the stand is not common in Spain, but was agreed by all parties beforehand as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ and to make society aware of the problems of animal abuse.
The defendant, identified as Sergio M.J., is accused of locking the dog in a suitcase and throwing it into a wheelie bin.
He reportedly gave his testimony in a video call from a pre-trial detention centre in Seville where he has been charged with other offences including robbery.
He admitted to throwing the dog in the rubbish back in October 2012, but claimed that he did so because he thought the Pit Bull had died.
However, residents heard the dog barking from inside the wheelie bin and contacted the emergency services.
Adriana Naranjo of the animal rights group Albergue Comarcal Valle Colino, which cared for the dog after being rescued and managed to find it a new home, said that it was unnecessary for it to attend the trial.
She said that the Pit Bull’s injuries were recorded seven years ago and the animal has since made a full recovery.
However, Naranjo admitted: “It is positive to make people aware of the problems of animal abuse.”
The defendant faces up to a year in prison if found guilty, according to reports.
The trial took a long time to get underway because the defendant was untraceable for a while, according to local media.