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(Updated 19/7/01)

'Dog rage' killer faces jail



A MAN who cruelly hurled a woman driver’s pet dog to its death in a busy freeway during a road rage attack has been jailed for three years.

American Andrew Burnett, 27, was involved in a road traffic accident with a female driver near San José airport in California, USA in February last year.

During a violent argument with the other driver, Burnett snatched the pet dog, a ten year-old Bichon Frisé named Leo through the open window of the woman’s car and hurled him in to the path of an oncoming car, which struck the dog and killed it instantly.

Burnett was later arrested for killing the dog and told a television reporter: “I felt that this wasn’t a crime and that it would just blow over.”

Deterrent

However, the matter eventually reached court and Judge Kevin Murphy rejected Burnett’s plea for leniency and jailed him for three years, saying: “It’s a case of road-rage induced violence. I believe that prison can send a message and it can deter.”

Burnett was due to appear in court early this week on another, unrelated criminal charge, for which he also faces a custodial sentence.

- Under existing UK law, a person can only be jailed for a maximum of six months for severe cruelty to an animal, and sentencing is at the discretion of magistrates. The usual ‘severe’ sentence handed down is four months.