A local homeless man who killed his dog at Brunswick Heads believed he had no choice because the animal had bitten two children, Byron Local Court has heard.
But the magistrate found that Robert Kim Mitchell should have found a more humane way of putting the animal down, and forbade him from owning another pet for 10 years.
Mitchell, 53, had pleaded guilty to aggravated animal cruelty over the death of the dog on November 28.
But Byron Local Court heard on January 11 that he did not ‘resile from his reasons for acting as he did’.
Mitchell’s solicitor, Rebecca McIlveen, told the court that the dog had bitten two children in the space of two days.
‘The first was a little girl aged around six or seven who was running across the grass outside the community centre,’ Ms McIlveen said.
‘The next day the dog bit a young male child.’
Ms McIlveen told the court that Mitchell could not afford to take his dog to the vet to be put down, and that he did not want to wait for a council ranger to arrive because it would take too long.
It had not occurred to Mitchell to contact the RSPCA, the court heard.
‘He accepts that the way he dealt with the dog was well below community expectations, but he did it to protect young children,’ Ms McIlveen said.
Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy said the 53-year-old should have found another way.
‘While on one view your motivation might be seen as noble, that is, to protect children, there are far more appropriate ways to deal with such an issue,’ his honour said.
He sentenced the 53-year-old to a good behaviour bond and made an order forbidding him from owning another pet for 10 years.
In reaching his decision, Mr Dunlevy took into account that Mitchell had spent three weeks in custody while on remand and that, once released, he had been required to report to Brunswick Heads police every day.