Killed, kidnapped dogs let down by system

Click or flick across for more photos of the dogs involved. 

- Pet cruelty case clarification

THE owners of the Yackandandah dogs who were kidnapped and killed say the justice system let them down after their dog attacker escaped a jail term this week.

Former Yackandandah man John Arthur Brewer, 66, was convicted, fined $1500 and placed on an 18-month community corrections order in the Wodonga Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Brewer inflicted cruel deaths on four family pets and kidnapped two others who later returned home.

School teacher Kay Cantwell’s two Maltese dogs Oscar and Fletcher died after being poisoned with what was believed to be antifreeze in January.

“Ours were poisoned and we blamed ourselves. We thought there was something we left out that made them sick. It was just a really traumatic week,” Ms Cantwell said.

She said she was let down by the justice system.

“What do you have to do to go inside?” she said.

“I don’t think he should be out.”

Lisa Schmidt’s almost 11-year-old Labrador Buddy was kidnapped four times from her backyard and survived.

“It’s been horrific for the poor old bugger,” Ms Schmidt said.

“But he was one of the lucky ones.”

She said it was a disappointing sentence.

“The justice system has let them (the animals) down,” Ms Schmidt said.

The court heard on Monday Brewer tried to drown Kate Brooks’ 12-year-old labrador cross Grunter after he stole him. Grunter later died from the injuries he sustained.

Ms Brooks said it was hard to explain to her children, aged 11, nine and five, that Brewer was not jailed.

“My youngest one, he knows that a naughty man took our dog and killed him and he keeps asking if he’s in jail yet,” Ms Brooks said.

“In one way I’m happy that it’s finished, but I’m not happy with how lightly he got off. What’s it telling people?”

David Bishop’s border collie kelpie was taken twice and also survived.

Mr Bishop said placing Brewer on a community corrections order could lead to helping both him and his family.

“I don’t think anyone would win by this fellow being in prison. I’m probably a little bit surprised but prison wasn’t going to help him,” he said.

“Yackandandah is a fairly close-knit community out there so we know his children and I’m very mindful that they have been through a lot, I’m sure.”

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