A HOMELESS man who had sex with his dog outside a Milton Keynes church in broad daylight has avoided a jail sentence.
Robert Buchanan was caught by a police CCTV operator who became suspicious of his movements under a sleeping bag.
The 35-year-old dreadlocked defendant admitted the offence but denied claims that it was a regular activity.
His dog, a lurcher-cross which he had owned for eight years since she was a puppy has been taken off him and rehomed.
Michael Roques, prosecuting the drifter, said: “On June 30 last year at about 6pm a CCTV operator employed by Thames Valley Police was watching an area in central Milton Keynes and happened upon this defendant lying outside the Church of Christ the Cornerstone.
“He appeared to be sleeping rough. He was lying under a sleeping bag - in fact there were two, both opened and zipped together to form a duvet.
“It was apparent, when the CCTV operator focussed, that there was also a dog there.”
Buchanan was on his side behind the dog, with the dog pressed against the full-length window of the church and with his hand on its neck, apparently to restrain it.
Mr Roques said: “The defendant appeared to be rhythmically thrusting,”
Realising what was happening, the controller directed police patrols to the site and they arrested the defendant.
He added: “He stated he hadn’t done anything wrong and didn’t understand why he had been arrested,”
Buchanan was then shown the camera footage, but said: “I know what it looks like” but denied he was having sex with the animal, insisting he had just been trying to get to sleep.
The dog was taken to a vet and examined in the presence of an RSPCA inspector and was found to have injuries connected to the assault.
Mr Roques said: “The dog is described as behaving in an unusual manner, as shutting down.
“The inspector comments that he’s never seen a dog acting in that way.
“It’s right to say this defendant is only charged with a single offence but it is also worth mentioning that the experts described the dog as being distressed (during the incident).
“She doesn’t try to remove herself from the situation. The normal behaviour for a dog would be to turn towards the human, to try to get away.
“The behaviour suggests the dog is used to being held in this way, is used to this behaviour and it is not unusual to her.
“The suggestion is the dog has become acclimatised.”
Despite his initial denial, Buchanan later admitted a charge of having sexual intercourse with an animal.
Jonathan Mole, for the defence, said in mitigation that his client had not denied the act but said he could not remember what had happened, as he had memory problems stemming from drug use.
He did, however, deny that the abuse was systematic.
Mr Mole said: “He has been charged with a single incident and has admitted a single incident.”
He said Buchanan had led a nomadic life since leaving school without qualifications at 16. He had worked as a tree surgeon and devoted himself to ecological issues and protests and had little or no contact with his family and had few friends.
His behaviour demonstrated “isolation from mainstream society,” he said.
Judge Johannah Cutts QC, sentencing Buchanan at the Crown Court in Amersham, said: “On any view this is a serious offence. Not only is activity of this kind illegal but it is aggravated, it took place in public in a central place.
“People who own dogs care for them in a humane way. They do not abuse them in the way you did.”
She placed Buchanan, of no fixed abode, under a three-year community order, including a supervision requirement.
She also imposed a prohibited activity requirement which bans him from owning a dog for the duration of the sentence.
Afterwards chief inspector Jim Lucas, of the RSPCA, said: “Our reaction was the same as most members of the public: shock, surprise and disgust, that somebody has got to the position where they have blurred the lines in this relationship.
“It does seem that this is, to a degree, associated with how he has struggled to integrate with human society and has formed a dysfunctional view of his relationship with his dog.”
He welcomed the banning order, saying: “I have seen the video and the dog does not appear to be struggling, which would seem quite unusual if it was a first offence.”