SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian man was on Monday jailed for 18 months on animal cruelty charges after bludgeoning to death nine puppies with a brick while high on methamphetamine, commonly known as ice.
Nathan Thompson, 25, pleaded guilty to the horrific deaths at Kurri Kurri, 150 km north of Sydney, in March, with one witness describing the scene as "a massacre".
Only one puppy from the group survived, now named "Lucky".
The puppies were initially offered for sale on the Internet by their owner, the court heard. When no one bought them, he took them to Thompson who had previously had success in selling dogs.
The Newcastle Local Court heard that Thompson considered taking the unwanted puppies to an RSPCA shelter but instead chose to kill them, driving to some bushland where he beat them to death.
A witness walking his own dogs heard a number of them yelping.
"The witness has observed the accused holding one of the puppies down with his left hand while repeatedly bludgeoning it with a brick held in his right hand," court documents cited by the Newcastle Herald newspaper stated.
"The witness momentarily watched in horror as the accused removed yet another puppy from his car and proceeded to strike the animal four times in the head."
In handing down the sentence, Magistrate Robert Stone said the act was "deplorable and distressing", despite the man's lawyer claiming Thompson was high on ice and "not in a normal frame of mind" at the time.
He was also banned from animal ownership for life.
RSPCA New South Wales chief inspector David O'Shannessy said he hoped the sentence would send a clear message about animal cruelty.
"These sort of attacks of brutal, deliberate and premeditated animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the courts and also the public," he said, the Newcastle Herald reported.