The Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced a 72-year-old man to three months in prison after he was found guilty of fatally stabbing dog Max in 2015.
Giorgos Constantinou had been sentenced last May to a 45-day prison sentence with a three-year suspension and was ordered to pay €150 in court fees, but the Animal Party, feeling the penalty was too lenient, asked the Attorney-general to reopen the case. The AG appealed the case and a new procedure was launched at the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court rejected the initial sentence and sentenced the 72-year-old to three months in prison,” the head of the Animal Party, Kyriacos Kyriacou told the Cyprus Mail.
The stabbing took place in June 2015 near a park in Larnaca when the dog owner who is deaf and mute went to take Max, his German shepherd, for a walk.
The dog had reportedly run out of the gate towards Constantinou who was passing by with his own dog and who took out a small knife and stabbed the animal twice, once in the neck and once to the left side of its thorax.
After the incident, he said he had feared being attacked and called the police, while the dog owner took his dog to a vet where it died from its injuries.
The party had said last May when the initial sentence was announced, that it was astonished by the court’s leniency especially after it had admitted the case was serious and had rejected the defendant’s claim that he was acting in self-defence. The court had also accepted the owner’s statement that the dog had simply gone up to the defendant to play.
Kyriacou expressed his party’s satisfaction at the Supreme Court ruling.
“Those who abuse animals and are found guilty should go to prison,” he said.
The Supreme Court said in its ruling it had found Constantinou’s entire course of action – carrying a knife and his subsequent behaviour – to be “cold blooded” and that it leaves no doubt that his intention was to seriously injure the animal rather than to scare it.
The court stressed the impact of the dog’s death on his owner as Max was a trained guide dog and that Constantinou had been aware of that.
It said in its ruling that this was “another cold and merciless human action against an animal, a German Shepherd, injured by a knife in front of the eyes of his owner and his niece, who witnessed the incident from the window of her bedroom”.
Despite Constantinou’s age and his clean criminal record being mitigating factors, court said, this does not overshadow “the need for punishment and deterrence, which is strongly prompted by the rise of such offences, which are increasingly coming before the courts”.