Daniel Ponzo, 19, of Charlottetown was sentenced Tuesday in provincial court. The judge ignored the prosecutor's request that Ponzo not be allowed to have pets for the next 10 years and to pay $850 to Mojo's owner, to cover veterinary bills. Instead, he gave Ponzo just one year of probation and said he can't have animals for just that one year.
Despite all these breaks being given to Daniel Ponzo, he continued to try to argue his case and claim his innocence in court.
"There's no physical evidence against me, all just professional opinion against me," Ponzo told Provincial Court Judge John Douglas.
"You're dealing with my opinion now," the judge told Ponzo.
Judge John Douglas says the vicious beating Mojo suffered at the hands of Daniel Ponzo was, in his opinion, a 'one-time incident'
The judge chose not to send the man to jail because he is "youthful with no prior record" and the injuries to the dog were a "one-time incident." The conditional sentence will also allow the man to keep the two part-time jobs he holds.
"He has yet to acknowledge wrongdoing," Judge John Douglas told court.
"I am attempting to address the need of specific deterrence as suggested by an apparent lack of remorse or taking of responsibility."
The dog, named Mojo, suffered cuts and bruises to its head as well as a swollen eye and punctured eardrum, following the incident in February last year.
At trial, a neighbor testified he heard pounding on the apartment wall and a dog yelping. After police arrived, Ponzo would not open the door.
When they eventually got inside, they found "blood everywhere" according to testimony, and a blood-stained hole smashed in the apartment wall.
Ponzo testified in his own defense. He told court it was his cat who had attacked his girlfriend's dog, and had caused the injuries.
"I was playing video games. I heard a hiss and yelp in the bedroom. My cat was latched on the dog's face," Ponzo testified.
A veterinarian who treated the dog also testified. She told court wounds included cuts to the dog's head which required stitches, a swollen eye, bruised ears and a ruptured eardrum. The vet testified the injuries were caused by "blunt force trauma" and not by the claws of a cat.
The judge agreed.
At sentencing today, the judge also noted Ponzo failed to show up for court on one occasion and was late on another. For failing to attend court, Ponzo was sentenced to five days house arrest concurrent to the 60 days for animal cruelty.
(CBC - May 2, 2017)