By Emma Brannam
Animal welfare groups are furious at the sentence for two men who killed 33 dogs, most of them puppies.
Tony Campbell and Russell Mendoza got no jail time, even though the judge herself called for a sentence that would deter.
Instead, the pair got six months' home and community detention respectively, and were ordered to pay just over $4,000 reparation each, and do 300 hours community service.
SPCA director Bob Kerridge said the sentencing did not send a strong enough message.
“The judge made it clear that this sentencing was to send a message that animal cruelty is unacceptable. I don't believe that this message sends that,” he said.
Nicole Whippy of Paw Justice agreed.
“Six months' home detention, I don't know if that, in her words is going to deter anyone else from doing this. It's pretty much like being grounded,” she said.
The sentences relate to what the judge called a "massacre" at a rural Wellsford property two years ago. Thirty-three dogs were slaughtered as they cowered or tried to run. Twenty-one were puppies.
Judge Mary Beth Sharp said it was a cruel death for the dogs.
“The dogs that died of course were victims. Some died instantaneously, others didn't and their deaths were cruel and painful,” she said.
The men claimed they were given permission to shoot all the dogs by the owner Roger Hargreaves because one had killed Mendoza's fox terrier.
At trial, Ms Sharp described the killings as "fuelled by emotion and bloodlust".
But today she did acknowledge the dogs kept by Mr Hargreaves had been unregistered.
“I cannot and will not consider the harm to Mr Hargreaves to be quite as aggravating had that situation not been so,” she said.
The men could have been jailed for up to three years. The judge accepted however that both offenders had suffered greatly from adverse publicity, and said that home and community detention was punishment enough.
source: newshub archive