‘Terrible death’: Why animal lover suffocated his dog
A SELF-proclaimed animal lover said he used a plastic bag to suffocate a one-year-old dog days after it suffered significant injuries to help it because he could not afford proper treatment.
Christopher Sammons, aged 30, appeared via videolink in Cairns Magistrates Court on Monday when he pleaded guilty to one count each of animal cruelty and failing to provide appropriate treatment to an animal suffering injuries.
The court heard that between December 17 and 22 in 2018 at Yarrabah, Mr Sammons saw a wild horse kicking the cattle dog, named Freckles, causing significant injuries to its spine and legs. Instead of seeking proper treatment for Freckles, the Yarrabah man "took it upon himself" to take the dog for a walk before suffocating it.
Magistrate Terrence Browne sentenced Sammons to 12 months in jail and prohibited him from owning an animal for life unless approved by the RSPCA.
Mr Browne said the facts were "cruel" and "very disturbing whether they are animal lovers or not".
"You had other options available to you other than showing cruelty to this young and helpless animal," Mr Browne said. "You were trying to assist the dog in a strange manner."
The magistrate said he also considered the offender's five-page criminal history, which included two relevant entries of violent offending, and the need for deterrence and denunciation.
Earlier in the hearing, the solicitor representing the RSPCA, Bebe Mellick, said the dog suffered a "terrible death" after being in "excruciating pain".
Defence lawyer Lyndon Brandt said his client "loves animals" and did not have the travel, funds and phone to call for appropriate treatment. "He loves dogs particularly. In his mind, it was not cruel but appropriate … he saw this as the only way to deal with the dog," he said.
Mr Brandt said Sammons spent six years as a ranger within the Yarrabah community and, since being in custody, he has a "much clearer view" of life.
With a non-parole period of four months and having been in custody since September this year for unrelated charges, Sammons will become eligible for parole in March next year.
Originally published as 'Terrible death': Why animal lover suffocated his dog