Dan­ger­ous re­venge

Judge says lo­ca­tion of dog’s shoot­ing more se­ri­ous than ac­tual killing

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY GARY KEAN [email protected]­ern­star.com Twit­ter: WS_GaryKean

A 79-year-old man who shot and killed a dog af­ter it had at­tacked his own pet has been given six months of house ar­rest for the of­fence.

A 79-year-old man who shot and killed a dog af­ter it had at­tacked his own pet has been given six months of house ar­rest for the of­fence.

Judge Wayne Gor­man, who handed down the sen­tence at pro­vin­cial court in Cor­ner Brook Tues­day morn­ing, said the shoot­ing of the dog was prob­a­bly not the most se­ri­ous of the three crimes com­mit­ted by Ge­orge Payne.

Af­ter a re­cent trial, Payne was con­victed by Gor­man of care­less use of a firearm, pos­ses­sion of a firearm without be­ing the holder of a li­cence, and in­jur­ing or en­dan­ger­ing an an­i­mal.

The court had heard that Payne hunted down a dog named Sammy af­ter the dog had at­tacked Payne’s pet dog, Trooper. Gor­man also heard that Sammy had al­ready killed an­other dog owned by Payne on a prior oc­ca­sion and that Payne was frus­trated his prior at­tempts to have au­thor­i­ties deal with Sammy’s vi­cious be­hav­iour had not pre­vented the at­tack.

Af­ter Trooper was in­jured by Sammy, Payne went to re­trieve a ri­fle from his son’s res­i­dence, then went look­ing for Sammy. He walked through a res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood with the loaded gun be­fore shoot­ing the dog near homes and chil­dren who were play­ing in the area.

Gor­man said that, while Payne was not charged with in­jur­ing an­other per­son, his ac­tions were care­less and dis­re­garded the po­ten­tial dan­ger he put others in. The judge said this was the most se­ri­ous of the three crimes.

Payne’s lawyer, Jim Ben­nett, had asked for his client to be given ab­so­lute dis­charges for each of­fence. Gor­man did not agree with that, say­ing the sen­tence has to com­mu­ni­cate so­ci­ety’s con­dem­na­tion of dis­charg­ing a firearm in a res­i­den­tial area where chil­dren are play­ing.

Crown at­tor­ney Ash­ley Tar­gett had asked for a pe­riod of 6-8 months in prison. She called the killing of Sammy an act of re­venge and a form of vig­i­lante jus­tice that was ex­ac­er­bated by the in­her­ent dan­ger of the lo­ca­tion of the shoot­ing.

Gor­man de­cided on al­low­ing Payne to serve the sen­tence in the com­mu­nity be­cause of his age, health, his lack of a prior crim­i­nal record and be­cause this seemed to be an iso­lated in­ci­dent that was out of char­ac­ter for him.

Payne was a busi­ness owner who has for­mer in­volve­ment with the Par­sons Pond com­mu­nity coun­cil and has done vol­un­teer work with the Li­ons Cub and the town’s fire bri­gade. Char­ac­ter ref­er­ence let­ters sub­mit­ted to the court de­scribed Payne as a good­na­tured in­di­vid­ual with a calm de­meanour.

The court also heard Payne is a pet owner who has no his­tory of mis­treat­ing his an­i­mals and Gor­man said he did not con­sti­tute a dan­ger to the pub­lic.

In ad­di­tion to the six months of house ar­rest, Payne will be on pro­ba­tion for 19 months, will be pro­hib­ited from own­ing guns for five years and must pay $1,888 in resti­tu­tion to cover vet­eri­nar­ian bills in­curred try­ing to save Sammy af­ter the dog had been shot by Payne.

The Crown had also asked for an or­der pro­hibit­ing Payne from own­ing any more an­i­mals, ex­cept for Trooper, but Gor­man re­jected that re­quest.

123RF PHOTO

The court heard that Ge­orge Payne, the man con­victed, is a pet owner who has no his­tory of mis­treat­ing his an­i­mals.

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