A violent recidivist burnt a dog with a blowtorch in an act of vengeance after it bit him to protect its owner, who was being attacked for asking a question about cat food.
A magistrate described Clarke John Menzies' behaviour as "exceedingly appalling" when she sentenced him to a partially suspended jail term on Tuesday afternoon.
Menzies pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to charges of common assault, property damage and animal cruelty over a February 16 incident at a Theodore home.
Agreed facts show he "berated" a woman there and kicked a door off its hinges when an argument broke out over cat biscuits.
The 46-year-old then took a canvas off a wall and hit the woman in the face and body with it as she pleaded for him to stop.
Menzies continued what his lawyer, Emma Bayliss, conceded was an unprovoked assault by striking the woman with a metal dividing gate.
One of the woman's dogs came to her aid by biting Menzies on the left calf, creating "a big pile of blood".
This prompted Menzies to retrieve a butane blowtorch from a bedroom and push its flame into the dog's face, singeing the animal's fur.
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Police, who received an anonymous call about a disturbance at the home, arrived to find the dog "highly agitated, panting heavily and appearing hypervigilant".
Menzies was arrested but subsequently released on bail, only to reoffend in May when he smashed a different woman's solar lights and vandalised her vehicle in Fisher following a ruckus about a pair of shoes.
He was later granted bail again, but served 36 days in custody on remand prior to his sentencing on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Wendy Kukulies-Smith told the court the February offending involved "extreme violence".
"The use of the blowtorch was not necessary," Dr Kukulies-Smith said, noting that Menzies was already free of the dog's bite before going to collect this item.
"It was awfully violent conduct."
Ms Bayliss told the court her "effectively homeless" client was now properly medicated for mental health issues, which had played a role in his crimes.
She argued a sentence involving supervision by ACT Corrective Services would benefit both the community and Menzies, whose criminal history, the court heard, included previous instances of violence.
Special magistrate Margaret Hunter ultimately agreed, imposing a four-month jail term.
Ms Hunter backdated the sentence to account for time already served, suspending the balance in favour of a 12-month good behaviour order that includes supervision among its conditions.
She said it was Menzies' own fault that he was bitten, and found he had used the blowtorch "out of sheer vengeance" .
The magistrate also said the animal would have been "extremely scared" by this, having already been "very upset by the calamity" that led it to bite Menzies.
"Your behaviour was exceedingly appalling," Ms Hunter told Menzies.
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