A man found guilty of killing a police dog was jailed for 14 months when he appeared in Tauranga District Court today.
Tairyn Murphy, 27, a Welcome Bay labourer, was also sentenced to one month in prison for resisting police, a term he will serve concurrently.
Judge Christopher Harding said the deliberate drowning of three-year-old Enzo during a large manhunt in the lower Kaimai Ranges last August had had a significant effect not only on the dog's handler, but on his wife and young children as well as on Western Bay of Plenty police members.
Handler Kayne Cording was given permission to read his victim impact report aloud in court. As he told of the "exceptional" young police dog, Murphy repeatedly looked and grinned at his partner and son seated in the public gallery.
On entering the dock he had pushed back a long sleeve to reveal a bandaged lower arm.
Constable Cording said all the time and effort he had put into training Enzo had been wasted by Murphy's actions. He was now training a new dog which required him to spend two months away from his family.
After Enzo's death the constable said he had been removed from the armed offenders squad at a loss of about $9000 a year in income.
The killing of Enzo had been "unnecessary, senseless and deliberate" and had caused him much soul searching about whether to take on another dog.
Murphy's lawyer Nicholas Dutch said his client was remorseful and felt very badly about the dog dying. The offence was out of character for a man with no significant history of violent behaviour.
Enzo had bitten the fleeing Murphy on both wrists and an ankle but he did not set out deliberately to kill the dog, Mr Dutch said.
Before handing down sentence, Judge Harding summed up the events leading to the death.
Police had visited an address in the lower Kaimais on August 9 last year to talk to Murphy about outstanding warrants. He jumped out a window and fled into the bush.
Enzo and his handler were brought in for what turned out to be an extensive search by a large number of police officers over several hours.
Constable Cording lost sight of Enzo in dense bush after releasing him on the fugitive's heels.
The dog's body was found two hours later submerged in a stream and wedged under a rock.
Judge Harding said Murphy's explanation that he punched the dog twice and it fell, dazed, was completely inconsistent with a veterinary pathologist's findings that Enzo died from drowning.
Murphy and his partner called "love you" to each other as he was led from the crowded courtroom to the cells after sentencing.