A CALLOUS animal killer will not face cruelty charges from the RSPCA - because the dog he kicked to death did not suffer, according to inspectors.

Animals lovers reacted with horror after learning that the charity did not consider the attack caused cruelty.

Phoebe, a miniature Yorkshire Terrier, was killed instantly when she was kicked across the room during a domestic row in Arnolds Way, Cirencester, on November 2 last year.

The story originally caused outrage as the dog's attacker, a 52-year-old man from Hemel Hempstead, received just a police caution for criminal damage - as the law classes pet dogs as property.

But revelations that the RSPCA concluded that, as the dog died instantly, it did not suffer and there was no case of animal cruelty.

The recommendation was made following a post-mortem by a vet.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the RSPCA can prosecute for causing unnecessary suffering to animals with sentences including jail, havy fines or a lifelong ban from keeping animals.

Phoebe's owner, aged 51, is still traumatised by the incident despite counselling.

Her sister said: "The RSPCA told us they could not do anymore about it.

"I think it is disgusting. My sister is still devastated about it."

"It seems that nobody wants to know and I am upset he got away with it. What sort of message does that send out to people?"

Animal loving author Jilly Cooper, who lives in Bisley, branded the decision not to prosecute in this case "pathetic."

She said: "It is irrelevant whether it was one kick or two. Killing an animal is killing an animal whether it is quick or slow. At the very least he should be fined as a punishment."

Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said the law needed changing with harsher penalties to deter similar incidents.

"Whether a blow was intended to kill or not, it should be dealt with harshly," he said. "Whether it’s a single blow or multiple kicks, that someone is prepared to treat a pet in this way is completely unacceptable."

Cirencester animal rights activist Joyce Moss said she was sickened by the "illogical" decision not to prosecute.

"It just sets a bad example that somebody is allowed to get away with animal cruelty," she added.

Do you think the RSPCA was right not to proceed with a prosecution? Post your comments below.