Crown wants jail for dog killer — (Calgary Sun)

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Calgary Sun

Tue, May 13, 2008

UPDATED: 2008-05-13 01:44:13 MST

Defence lawyer argues client’s anxiety would make any prison sentence too harsh

By KEVIN MARTIN, SUN MEDIA

Beating a puppy to death for peeing on the bed should land a city man as much as four months behind bars, a prosecutor said yesterday. But the lawyer for Christopher Piasentin said jail isn’t necessary for what he called a “spur-of-the-moment” attack.

And Piasentin himself said he’s a changed man from the individual who unleashed his drug- and alcohol-fuelled rage on the four-month-old Beagle, Levi.

“I’ve taken every step in ensuring I don’t react that way again,” Piasentin told provincial court Judge Anne Brown.

“I’d do anything to take it back,” he said, of the night he beat Levi so badly the puppy had to be euthanized.

Piasentin earlier pleaded guilty to a Nov. 2, 2006, charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Crown prosecutor Gord Haight said a jail sentence of between three and four months was needed to deter Piasentin and others from harming defenceless animals.

Haight noted the dog was so badly beaten a necropsy showed it had “brain damage and swelling on the brain.”

The prosecutor said Piasentin himself admitted losing all control when his then-girlfriend Ashley Glass arrived home to find the dog injured.

“In the accused’s own words … he ‘hit him and couldn’t stop hitting him,’ apparently as a result of the rage he was in when the dog wet on the bed,” said Haight. “The first, and perhaps most aggravating, feature … is the extreme level of brutality involved against this defenceless animal, a puppy of four months.”

But defence counsel Willie de Wit suggested the attack wasn’t a prolonged one and a drunken Piasentin, 26, immediately phoned Glass once he realized what he had done.

“When she got home he was on the floor crying with the dog,” de Wit said.

He dismissed suggestions by Haight his client was trying to deflect blame by suggesting his anti-depressant medication, Paxil, was responsible for him losing control.

De Wit said it was normal for people to look for answers when they act out of character, “especially if you were ashamed and remorseful.”

The lawyer said a term of probation or a conditional sentence, served in the community, would be appropriate. And, de Wit said, even a jail term served on weekends would be too harsh because of his client’s anxiety.

Brown will make a decision on June 5.