SPCA v Landy [2019] NZDC 19187

Published 02 December 2019

Sentencing — wilful ill treatment — dog — Staffordshire bull terrier — Animal Welfare Act 1999, ss 28(1)(d) & 171 — Burton v Police [2013] NZHC 1389. The defendant appeared for sentencing after pleading guilty to one charge of wilful ill treatment of a Staffordshire bull terrier. He had beaten the dog with a baseball bat after being told it had attacked his child. The dog suffered a ruptured eye and was in pain when taken to the vet. It could have recovered but the owners elected to put the dog down to prevent the risk of a future attack. A starting point of 12 months' imprisonment was adopted, with reference to case law. A 25 per cent reduction was given for early guilty plea and a further two months was given for remorse. As this was a short prison sentence, the Judge had the option of converting it to a community sentence. Given the defendant's work and family situation (he was the sole bread winner for multiple children), the Judge decided five months' community detention was the most appropriate outcome. This included a curfew between 8 pm and 6 am, payment of a fine of $1000 to the SPCA and $150 for legal costs. Judgment Date: 25 September 2019.