Martin Dunn: GMP officer who punched a springer spaniel puppy is sacked for animal cruelty

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Former sergeant Martin Dunn was convicted of animal cruelty in court and this made him ‘wholly unsuitable’ to keep his job in the police, a misconduct hearing decided.

A police officer who served in Greater Manchester has been sacked after he was convicted of animal cruelty for punching a springer spaniel puppy.

Former sergeant Martin Dunn, who worked in the Specialist Operations Branch at Greater Manchester Police (GMP), was fired from his job at a misconduct hearing. The hearing was told Dunn punched a spaniel puppy called Frank numerous times after it defecated in his house, a shocking act of cruelty towards the animal which was captured on video and reported. GMP said Dunn’s conviction in court and his actions made him “wholly unsuitable” to continue serving in the police.

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What did Martin Dunn do?

A misconduct hearing heard Dunn was seen punching his five-month-old springer spaniel puppy several times after it defecated in his house. The incident in March 2021 was filmed and reported to police, as well as being shared online.

Dunn, who was a sergeant with GMP, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary harm to an animal contrary to the Animal Welfare Act at Leeds Magistrates’ Court in April 2021. He received a sentence that included a community order requiring 120 hours of unpaid work and a ban from keeping animals for five years.

A springer spaniel. Photo: Getty ImagesA springer spaniel. Photo: Getty Images
A springer spaniel. Photo: Getty Images

He had been on restricted duties since the incident was reported and investigated by West Yorkshire Police, the misconduct hearing at GMP’s force headquarters heard. Dunn admitted gross misconduct at the hearing and the panel decided he should be dismissed without notice. Dunn’s defence said he ‘unreservedly accepted the allegations’ and that it was an isolated incident.

What did GMP say about Martin Dunn’s sacking?

Chief Superintendent Michael Allen, head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “Greater Manchester Police expects the highest standards of conduct from its officers, both on and off duty, and Dunn’s actions clearly fell far short of these standards.

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“The vast majority of police officers and staff fulfil their duties in serving the public to the highest standard and demonstrate exemplary behaviour in their private lives. Public trust and confidence in the police is vital and GMP does not underestimate the importance of officers and staff demonstrating the highest standards of professional behaviour towards not only members of the public but also to animals.

“Having a criminal conviction for animal cruelty makes Dunn wholly unsuitable to continue serving as a police officer and his cruelty towards Frank the dog is ultimately why he has lost his job. Dunn’s actions, which have rightly been condemned by the public and his colleagues, bring the profession into disrepute and damage the confidence the public has in police officers.

GMP has sacked former Specialist Operations Branch sergeant Martin Dunn after he was convicted of animal cruelty and admitted gross misconduct. Photo: AFP via Getty ImagesGMP has sacked former Specialist Operations Branch sergeant Martin Dunn after he was convicted of animal cruelty and admitted gross misconduct. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
GMP has sacked former Specialist Operations Branch sergeant Martin Dunn after he was convicted of animal cruelty and admitted gross misconduct. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

“I would like to thank West Yorkshire Police, who investigated this case criminally, and, working with the Crown Prosecution Service, secured the conviction at criminal court.

“GMP’s Professional Standards Branch has a responsibility to hold policing to account, taking action where misconduct is identified, and under new management this work is now accelerating, focusing both on legacy cases and new reports.”

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Paul Forster, the chairman of the independent panel, said the decision had been reached to “maintain public confidence in the police service”.

He added: “Hearings like this are about the individual but also about much more, with bigger and wider considerations in play. Therefore, the most appropriate outcome is dismissal without notice.”

Animal cruelty or suspicions that someone is mistreating an animal can be reported to the RSPCA on its website or by calling the charity on 0300 1234 999. There is also a guide to animal cruelty and reporting it on the GMP website.

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