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Corner Brook judge convicts Parsons Pond man who hunted down dog that attacked his pet

Scales of justice.
Scales of justice. - SaltWire Network

A man who shot and killed a dog in Parsons Pond because it had attacked his pet has been found guilty of three offences related to the incident.

Judge Wayne Gorman made the ruling in the case of George Payne following a trial held during a recent provincial court circuit stop in Rocky Harbour.

The court had heard that Payne had been in his yard with his dog, Trooper, when another dog, Sammy, attacked Trooper in May 2017. Trooper was injured, but was treated without the intervention of a veterinarian.

Payne’s partner suggested they euthanize Trooper because it was the third time Sammy had attacked their pets and they could not afford the vet bills should it ever come to that. The court was told Sammy had killed another of their dogs and had attacked Trooper on a prior occasion.

Payne told his partner they were not going to be putting Trooper down because of another dog’s aggression. He went to his son’s home to retrieved a rifle and some ammunition and set out to shoot Sammy.

After finding Sammy, Payne shot and injured the dog. Sammy was taken to a vet, but later died.

Children were playing in the area at the time Sammy was shot.

Payne was convicted of careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm without being licensed to do so and injuring a dog.

Payne tried to justify the shooting by testifying that he was protecting himself and Trooper from being attacked and he had a right to kill Sammy because the dog was still a threat. He said the dog was running towards him when he shot it.

Payne also argued that the children said to be in the area were about 500 metres away from him and using the firearm was not done carelessly.

The court had heard evidence from other witnesses saying the children were only about 75 metres away from where the dog was shot.

Payne also said he did not think he needed a licence to possess the rifle.

Gorman disagreed with the defence, ruling Payne’s intention in retrieving the firearm was to kill Sammy because he was upset about Trooper being attacked.

The judge also ruled that Payne’s contention that he had thought he heard a news report saying firearm licensing requirements had been abolished was nonsensical and blatantly false.

Gorman also found that walking with a loaded rifle through a residential area where children were playing and then shooting that firearm was not a prudent thing to do.

“I found Mr. Payne’s evidence to have been fashioned in an attempt to excuse

his behaviour … He set out to kill Sammy as an act of revenge

and did so,” Gorman said in his written decision on this case.

A sentencing hearing has been set for June 27.

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