Credits: SUN NEWS NETWORK.
SARNIA, ON — A man who killed his neighbour’s dog last year after it bit his one-year-old daughter has been sentenced to 90 days of house arrest.
Christopher Layton Hartwick, 28, of Sarnia, pleaded guilty earlier to killing the terrier and was sentenced Friday.
Hartwick kicked the dog in anger after it bit his daughter on the face on June 16, 2011.
The girl, who was 18 months old, was treated and released at hospital.
Justice Mark Hornblower said the kick was an overreaction involving a small dog that was tethered to a leash at the time.
People who witnessed the killing, including a number of children, were traumatized by it, the court was told.
After kicking the dog, Hartwick got a bat and was thumping it on the ground as people gathered in the neighbourhood.
Had there been clear evidence the bat was used on the dog the sentencing would likely have been different, Hornblower said.
Hartwick had been caring for the dog, named Teddy Bear, at his neighbour's when his daughter was bitten. He had looked after the pet previously. At the time, he owned the same kind of dog.
Defence lawyer James Guggisberg said during a previous court appearance that Hartwick “very genuinely regrets” what happened and that “malice was not there.”
Crown attorney Eric Costaris had called for a one month jail sentence, calling it a “vicious, senseless attack on a defenceless animal.”
Hartwick’s prior criminal record includes assaulting police and probation violations.
Guggisberg said Hartwick endured a social media storm following his arrest that “was as close to vigilantism as you will see” and in which he was branded a murderer.
The lawyer told the court The Sarnia Observer’s reporting of the attack made little mention of the injury to Hartwick’s daughter.
While under house arrest, Hartwick cannot contact the dog’s owners. He has since moved from the neighbourhood.
The house arrest will be followed by a year’s probation.