A dog owner captured on video beating his dog with a plank of wood has been fined $1500 and banned from owning dogs for three years.
Bull mastiff Bolo was found to have suffered bruising and internal injuries as well as significant distress after the savage attack in Christchurch last September.
Bolo's owner Murray Johnson admitted the attack and today at Christchurch District Court was sentenced to 150 hours' community work, a $1500 fine payable to SPCA and disqualified for three years from owning dogs.
The distressing incident was spotted by a witness who heard a commotion and saw Johnson raising a plank of wood above his head in a neighbouring backyard.
The object, later identified as a wooden plank, was brought down with significant force onto a dog yelping loudly in pain. The dog was later identified as Bolo.
Police attended that evening and the next day SPCA inspectors carried out a search warrant.
They seized Bolo, a plank of wood with blood on it, and a large splinter of wood.
When the dog was examined by a veterinarian, he was resistant to the full range of motion in his shoulders, had a bleeding wound on his face below his right eye and a puncture wound on his lower right lip pushing into a tooth, which needed sutures.
Tests showed Bolo had elevated levels of creatine kinase in his blood, reflecting a tremendous amount of muscle damage at the time of the trauma. X-rays also showed the area around Bolo's kidneys was likely to have been subjected to physical trauma.
The vet concluded Bolo's suffering was both physical and mental and the wounds on Bolo's head and mouth would have been extremely painful due to the large number of nerves there. She also added that Bolo's size and robust bone structure, being a giant breed dog, likely protected him from more serious injuries.
When interviewed, Johnson agreed that he had taken things too far on the night of the incident.
He said that Bolo had got through a gate and was trying to have a fight with another dog, which stressed the defendant out and he "lost it" with Bolo, and he hit him twice.
SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen says meting out violence to animals is never appropriate, and it is particularly devastating in this case due to the sustained mental and physical pain Bolo endured.
"When an animal is displaying signs of unwanted behaviour, physical punishment is not the answer," she said.
"Instead, an owner should train their dog to respond to positive reinforcement of good behaviours, use lots of praise and have patience with their animal."
Ownership of Bolo has been surrendered in to the permanent care of SPCA and he is now available for adoption.