Jail time, pet ban for dog abusing wife beater

CALGARY SUN | APRIL 19, 2010
By KEVIN MARTIN

Daisy Foundation, Heather AndersonBeating his wife, trying to strangle her dog with a noose and then spitting in a cop’s face has landed a Calgary man a seven-month jail term. But animal rights activists are applauding a secondary part of Bradley Kim Bergman’s punishment — a 10-year order that he have no pets.

Provincial court Judge Sean Dunnigan agreed with Crown prosecutor Gord Haight that Bergman’s conduct warranted at least a seven-month jail term.

Calling Bergman’s conduct “despicable,” Dunnigan said the admitted abuser still doesn’t understand the gravity of his actions.

“It appears … he does not see what he did to be any big deal,” Dunnigan said.

“Mr. Bergman seems to minimize his actions and excuse his criminal behaviour.”

The judge said Bergman’s attack on his common-law wife Denise Head’s pet Corgi, Buddy, was calculated to harm her further after he had repeatedly punched her.

“He intended her to suffer greatly,” Dunnigan said.

Bergman, 56, was angry at Buddy on March 1, 2009, for vomiting in their house and when he said he was going to “skin and gut” the animal, Head attempted to intervene.

When she did that he threatened to do the same to her before taking the dog to the garage and tightly tying a noose around its neck.

He also forced his way into a bathroom where Head had retreated for safety and to call police, before repeatedly punching her in the back.

When police arrived Bergman said he hoped the dog was already dead and spit into Const. David Grouchey’s face.

Police were able to save the animal, which was having trouble breathing.

Outside court, Haight said the 10-year pet ownership prohibition, under relatively new legislation, is the longest he’s seen in Calgary.

The penalty was applauded by a small group of animal lovers who had attended the sentencing.

Heather Anderson, of the DAISY Foundation, said she was pleased Bergman will have no control over any pet for the next decade.

“We’re really happy with the 10-year ban,” Anderson said.

“A 10-year ban is about as good as we’re going to get.”

She was also relieved to see that Bergman is going to jail.

“I’m glad he got some time I’m really happy about that, but it would’ve been nice (if it was) more time,” she said.

Along with jail, Dunnigan handed Bergman two year’s probation.

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