Nanaimo man sentenced to jail after beating dog with hammer

A Nanaimo man has been sentenced to six months in jail after being found guilty of nearly beating his girlfriend's Newfoundland dog to death with a hammer.

Matthew Dean Tremblay was sentenced to six months in jail, given a 30-month probation period as well as a 25-year ban on having custody or residing with animals on Nov. 5.

According to the B.C. SPCA, Tremblay gained access to the dog, named King, last January in a fenced yard and repeatedly kicked, punched and struck the dog with a hammer. King sustained puncture wounds to his cranium, severe bruising on his head and body, broken and cracked teeth, deep cuts, swelling and an ulceration in his eye. He was also vomiting and urinating blood.

According to Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the B.C. SPCA, King has made a full recovery thanks to extensive veterinary treatment and is now living with his owner, Tremblay's former girlfriend, at an undisclosed location in another province.

Tremblay was also ordered to pay $5,233 in restitution for the vet costs. He had already been in custody at the time of sentencing for breaching a bail condition that prohibited him from having custody of an animal. Tremblay was arrested in October after it was discovered he was residing with another dog. That dog was found unharmed.

Honourable Judge Ted Gouge said his sentence indicated Tremblay is a danger to society.

"Anyone who would inflict such suffering on an animal without the slightest sign of compassion must be regarded as a danger to the community. I do not believe a human being with such a healthy psyche could commit such an offence," said Gouge.

Chortyk said the sentence represents a movement toward stronger punishments for people who abuse animals.

"We're seeing more cases resulting in jail time and we're really pleased to see that," she said. "The crimes that are inflicted on animals are horrific and it's good to see society taking it seriously and our courts taking it seriously."

The B.C. SPCA launched an investigation and recommend to the Crown that charges be laid after a witness called the authorities about the attack.

"We have stronger laws now and as cases go through the courts and case law gets built up, it gives the courts much more case law to work with and apply stronger sentences. It's all moving in a good direction, and the thing that is so wonderful about this case is that King made a full recovery. That doesn't always happen," said Chortyk.

The B.C. SPCA investigates more than 7,000 cases of animal abuse annually.

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