A THUG kicked his new puppy to death before dumping its body in woodland.

Jon-Luc McLoughlin, 26, subjected 11-month old Alsatian Lexi to a barbaric beating. When the pet died, he attempted to cover his tracks by leaving it in the woods near his home.

However, Lexi's body was found by a group of schoolchildren. The youngsters were left "traumatised" by the find.

McLoughin had only owned Lexi for a month before he beat the puppy to death.

He appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court to admit causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The court heard that a post-mortem carried out on Lexi's body found the dog had suffered 'blunt force trauma', including a laceration to its liver.

The puppy also had blood in its abdomen and a stomach tear.

During a police interview McLaughlin initially tried to put the injuries down to a road traffic collision.

However, he later confessed to the killing, telling officers: "I get very angry and I don't know what came over me."

The death was reported to the RSPCA, which led the prosecution against the defendant.

Matthew Knight, prosecuting, said: "He punched or kicked the dog to death and dumped the body in some trees near his home.

"It was found by locals and upset local children who saw it.

"She had a laceration to her liver, blood in her abdomen and a stomach tear.

"It is likely that the dog did not survive for long."

James Moore, mitigating for McLoughlin, said the defendant was under "significant stress" as he was acting as a carer for his ill father at the time of the incident.

"This episode of blind rage is where stress has got the better of him," Mr Moore said.

"This is not just some violent thug who thinks it is okay to treat his own pet poorly."

During the hearing magistrate Martin Arthur told McLoughlin that sentencing options were "completely open" and that custody was "not off the table".

The case has now been adjourned until September 5.