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Vic: Boy whose pet dog bashed will never get over it

By Michelle Draper
04 May 2009 6:29 PM
Eds: Fixes spelling of son Bailey

MELBOURNE, May 4 AAP - A deaf Melbourne boy whose pet dog was battered with a baseball bat so badly it had to be put down, will never get over the loss of his best mate, his mother says.

A court heard on Monday that Storm Oxburgh, 31, sought revenge on his de facto partner and her deaf son by bashing their Staffordshire terrier Rocco.

"Bailey will never get over it, never," Vanessa Hansen, Oxburgh's former partner, said through tears outside the Heidelberg Magistrates' Court.

"It (Rocco) was his best mate," she said.

Oxburgh, of Reservoir, had pleaded guilty at the court to aggravated cruelty causing death to an animal and failing to provide veterinary attention or other treatment.

The court heard Oxburgh went to the home of Ms Hansen on September 9, 2007 and took the black-and-white dog belonging to her and her son, then aged 10.

Oxburgh returned to his home with the dog and at about 11pm he took it outside and beat it repeatedly over the head with a baseball bat, before going back inside to watch television.

Police called to the scene found the critically injured dog barely breathing and made the decision to euthanase it.

In the summary read to the court, police prosecutor Senior Constable Steve Wood said Oxburgh's explanation for beating the dog was that he wanted to get back at his de facto and her son.

Snr Const Wood said that on the same day Oxburgh made 82 calls to Ms Hansen which she failed to answer.

Oxburgh also left a text message on Ms Hansen's phone in which he threatened to kill the dog unless she returned his calls.

Oxburgh's lawyer Chester Metcalf said his client was mortified and disgusted by his behaviour.

Magistrate Jenny Grubissa said Oxburgh's crime was one of the most abhorrent she could imagine.

"It's difficult for me to imagine a set of circumstances more serious," she said.

"This is abhorrent behaviour, the most abhorrent I can ... envisage," she said.

Oxburgh was sentenced to 14 months in prison, with a non-parole period of eight months.

But he immediately lodged an appeal against the severity of the sentence and was granted bail until his next hearing on August 18.

Outside court Ms Hansen said her son still asks about his dead dog Rocco.

She said he did not know the truth about the dog's death, but believed Rocco was hit by a car because his mother left the gate open.

Ms Hansen, who was sobbing uncontrollably, said she was pleased with the sentence.

"I just wanted closure," she said. "It's been two years.

She said Rocco had meant the world to her son.