A slaughterman who bashed a Jack Russell to death with a fence batten and then claimed self-defence has had a charge of wilfully mistreating an animal dropped.
Phillip Ronald Reweti, also known as Brutus, 52, of Waverley, denied the charge and appeared today before Judge Laurie Hinton in the Whanganui District Court.
The court heard that on March 5 this year Mr Reweti heard dogs barking at a neighbour's property and approached the property with a 1.2m fence batten in his hand.
He attempted to get the dog inside to stop it barking but a second dog, a Jack Russell owned by another neighbour's daughter, lunged at Mr Reweti.
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He struck it with the batten and again tried to get the first dog inside, but the Jack Russell made for him a second time so he hit it again with greater force in the head and neck.
The dog ran away, jumped a fence to a neighbouring property and died from its injuries shortly after.
Mr Reweti told the court he regularly ventured to the neighbour's property to let his dog inside as he was concerned about other neighbours complaining about the noise it made, but said he never checked with the neighbour.
He also said he made a habit of taking the batten with him to scare the dog inside after it had attacked him earlier.
He said he feared the Jack Russell would "take his leg" and felt there was no alternative to striking it.
Judge Hinton said it would be "a step too far" to say Mr Reweti had wilfully mistreated the animal, although his actions had resulted in its death, and dismissed the charge.