House arrest for beating dog

By KEVIN MARTIN, CALGARY SUN — JUNE 16, 2010
Bashing his dog in the head with a flashlight, which led to the animal losing an eye, has landed a Calgary man nine months of house arrest.

Provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser on Tuesday said Donald James Ainsworth poses no danger to the public, so a conditional sentence was warranted.

Fraser said barring Ainsworth from being around pets for five years would alleviate any concern he poses a risk.

He said the term behind bars sought by Crown prosecutor Gord Haight wasn’t necessary, noting Ainsworth had no prior criminal history.

“The court … must be satisfied that he would not be a danger to the community,” the judge said in citing one of the pre-conditions for considering a conditional sentence order.

“The offender has no criminal record, is 46 years of age, and if prohibited from having the custody or control of an animal … he could not be said to be a risk to the community.”

Ainsworth earlier pleaded guilty to wilfully permitting his dog to be caused unnecessary pain or suffering in connection with a March 14, 2009, incident.

Ainsworth became angry at his miniature Doberman pinscher, Gucci, when she urinated in his truck.

He grabbed Gucci by the neck and shook her before striking her on the head with a flashlight.

The animal ran under some shelving and Ainsworth was unable to get the animal out.

He went to bed, awakening the next morning to find his injured pet beside him.

Ainsworth eventually had a friend take the dog to the humane society, where a vet determined its injured eye would have to be removed.

Fraser agreed with defence lawyer Andrea Serink a jail term in the three- to five-month range sought by Haight wasn’t needed.

Outside court, animal activist Heather Anderson said Ainsworth’s five-year ban from having pets was a positive step.

“I wish it was a lifetime ban, but five years is better than two years,” she said.

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