A man who killed a pet dog by throwing it down a height of two storeys, was handed a suspended jail term on Monday after a court established that the act was committed under the influence of anti-depressants and alcohol.
The incident took place one September evening last year when the 50-year old Marsascala resident flung the animal down to its death.
Police subsequently reported having come across the man in a bad state.
He admitted having ingested anti-depressants and alcohol and broke down in tears as he gave his account of the incident, visibly in a depressed state.
The man was taken to hospital and placed under observation.
Five months later when facing proceedings in court, the accused admitted to his wrongdoing, confirming his guilty plea even after being warned by the magistrate about the legal consequences of his admission.
“Such actions divest a person from every shadow of humanity,” remarked the court, when delivering judgment.
Throwing the dog down a height of two storeys was indeed wicked and cruel, said the court, adding that the punishment was to convey a “clear and unequivocal message that in a civilized society, such behaviour could never be tolerated,” Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said.
On the other hand, the court said it could not ignore the fact that at the time of the “shocking” episode, the accused was depressed and had mixed medication and alcohol.
In light of this, as well as his very early guilty plea and given that his criminal record was not alarming, the court refrained from applying an effective jail term, imposing instead the maximum possible term of two years suspended for four years, together with a fine of €8,000.
The man was also placed under a two-year Treatment Order for psychiatric assistance.
The court said it could not ban the accused from keeping a dog as a pet, pointing out that the Animal Welfare Act, under which the charges had been issued, did not provide the court with discretion to order a ban, similar to that envisaged under the Electronic Identification of Dogs regulations.
The court ordered that the legislative shortcoming be brought to the attention of the minister responsible for animal welfare, the justice minister, the attorney general and the Animal Welfare Commissioner.
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