A man carried out an armed raid at his ex girlfriend’s home – in a bid to get his pet pug back.
Michael Thompson, 27, and his former partner had the dog, called Coco, but there had been a feud over who should home the pet when they split.
Thompson and two other men later stormed up to his victim’s flat in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, masked and armed with poles, crowbars, a knife and what she thought was a blow torch.
The woman managed to lock Coco in the bathroom as one of the gang screamed: “Where is the dog?”
The victim fended the attackers off with a frying pan before the trio fled empty handed.
After later being held, one of the raiders stated to police: “All this for a f****** dog. It is only a pug, not a real breed.”
Thompson, Michael Poynter, 34, and John Gallagher, 48, have now been jailed for a total of almost ten years after they admitted forcing entry to the woman’s home and assaulting her to her injury on June 29, 2020.
Prosecutor Michael Macintosh told the High Court in Glasgow: “Ownership of the dog had been a source of conflict between them after the breakdown of the relationship.
“There had been a dispute about custody of the dog, which had prompted her to report Thompson to the police.
“It also prompted her to publish a post on social media making allegations that Thompson had her dog and would not return it.”
The night before the raid, Thompson dropped Coco off at a mutual friend for the victim to then collect the pet.
In the early hours of the next morning, she was at home with a friend when she heard a commotion in her close.
She feared it may be Thompson looking for Coco, so hid the dog in the bathroom and then grabbed a frying pan.
The door suddenly burst open and she was confronted by her ex-boyfriend and Poynter. Gallagher stood nearby.
She immediately recognised Thompson despite him wearing a balaclava.
Mr Macintosh said: “The men brandished the weapons at the women shouting at them and a struggle ensued.
“Among other phrases shouted were: ‘Where is the dog?’.”
Coco could be heard barking in the bathroom but the woman tried to stop Thompson going near.
She ended up being struck with a knife on the finger. The woman’s friend grabbed a pair of scissors in a bid to get them out.
Neighbours heard shouting and “arguing about a dog” and dialled 999.
The raiders escaped – but Thompson soon texted the victim stating: “Sorry – that was not for you.”
The trio were caught while taking a taxi to Aberdeen.
Thompson’s lawyer, George Gebbie, said: “He had been given information that there had been people going up to the house and blowing smoke in the dog’s face.
“He was concerned about the wellbeing of the dog.”
Billy Lavelle, defending Poynter, told the hearing: “He got involved in something he should not have. He should have stayed well out of it.”
Gallagher’s advocate Neil Shand said he now “accepted the stupidity” of what he had done.
Thompson was jailed for four years, Poynter three years and seven months, and Gallagher 21 months.
Lord Harrower told them: “Gallagher is reported to have said ‘all this over a dog’ at the police station.
“There is a degree of truth in that rueful remark, but this should not trivialise what happened.”