New homes for Buddy and his cruel owner

October 28, 2016 | By More

Court House-general2Both Buddy the Labrador puppy and the cruel owner who beat him now have new homes.

Buddy has gone to a happy home where he can live out his days with only three legs, after losing one that was amputated after a prolonged and vicious assault.

The former owner, 26-year-old Christopher John Cross, will be calling Christchurch Men’s Prison home for the next 10 months.

He was upset at finding himself jailed by Christchurch District Court Judge Brian Callaghan today after admitting a charge of wilful illtreatment of an animal.

SPCA prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk called for the prison term to be imposed for the May 12 bashing of the five-month-old puppy at Cross’ Woolston property.

Neighbours recorded the sound of the beating on a cellphone – a recording that showed the beating went on for seven minutes. It includes the sound of a dog’s claws being dragged across the floor, yelling and swearing, cracking sounds, and yelping by Buddy.

The dog’s leg was broken, and it had internal bleeding, lung contusions, and bruising. Mr Vanderkolk said its leg had to be amputated and it had now been rehoused.

He urged the judge to make little distinction between violence towards humans and towards animals, because of the state of mind involved.

He said: “There was a willingness by members of the public to record what happened and notify the authorities. There has been a definite shift in public participation – public interest in animal welfare is high.”

Defence counsel Margaret Smyth urged that a home detention sentence be imposed, in line with Cross’ pre-sentence report recommendation. Cross accepted there would be a disqualification from owning animals, and he would attend any rehabilitation programmes.

Judge Callaghan said the SPCA’s account of the puppy bashing made “chilling” reading.

He noted the attack on the puppy took place at an address where Cross was already serving a home detention term for assault with intent to injure.

He told Cross: “It would be wrong to sentence you to home detention given that this occurred while you were serving home detention for violence. The general public does have a particular concern about wilful illtreatment of animals.

“In my view, any sentence short of imprisonment would not meet the principles of the Sentencing Act.”

He jailed Cross for 10 months, with six months of post-release conditions when he must take counselling and treatment as directed for anger issues, and he is banned from having pets or control over any animals for five years.

No reparation order was made to recover the cost of the puppy’s surgery. Mr Vanderkolk said there was no prospect of it being paid.

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