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John Royce McVicar jailed for stabbing dog and threatening mother

A man who stabbed his mother’s dog in the neck, then threatened to do the same to her, has been jailed for 16 months.

John Royce McVicar, 38, told police after the bloody incident on July 30 last year that he “wasn’t in a very good state of mind”.

Defence counsel Brendan Stephenson said that, though hard to reconcile with the events in question, his client professed his love for his mother and the dog.

The defendant appeared in the Dunedin District Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to charges of ill-treating an animal and threatening to do grievous bodily harm.

Judge Michael Crosbie said offending against animals always attracted public attention because of “the importance pets play in the lives of many, many people”.

The court heard McVicar arrived home after a drinking session with friends at 10pm, ate a meal prepared by his mother, then sat down to watch television.

He became “highly abusive” while his mother sat at a computer nearby with her dog.

She did not take care of the pet, McVicar alleged.

He would stab the animal then give her the same treatment, he said.

Moments later, McVicar followed through on the threat.

He went to the kitchen and armed himself with the knife from the bench while the victim yelled at him to leave the dog alone.

McVicar reached under the computer desk where the dog was cowering, the court heard, and stabbed it once in the neck.

“I should do the same to you,” he said as his victim shouted at him.

As his mother tended to the animal, which was bleeding profusely, McVicar threw the weapon into the kitchen sink then continued to watch television.

The nonchalant response, Judge Crosbie said, was probably symptomatic of the state he was in at the time.

The dog – a female crossbred called Sam – was treated by a vet and survived the attack.

Stephenson said his client could not pinpoint the exact trigger for his decline on the day in question.

“It was a day where he did fall apart.”

Stephenson said McVicar self-reported struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder but accepted there was no evidence before the court of that.

He was “deeply remorseful”, Stephenson said.

Judge Michael Crosbie noted the defendant had violence and firearms convictions in his criminal history, as well as disorder charges from an early age.

McVicar – who was supported in court by his mother – was disqualified from owning an animal for five years.

The victim declined a protection order be made on her behalf.

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