Man accused of shooting puppy will defend his charges
A MAN charged with shooting a puppy with a longbow will defend the charges against him, arguing it was an accident.
Robert Bruce Stewart, 59, lodged not guilty pleas to his charges of committing an act of aggravated cruelty upon an animal and recklessly beating and seriously injuring an animal when he faced Byron Bay Local Court on Monday.
Police were called to a South Golden Beach property about 8am on Friday, December 6.
Police will allege Mr Stewart fired three arrows at an Irish wolfhound puppy, with the third striking the dog in the back.
The puppy, named Bucket, was taken to a veterinarian for treatment but was euthanised.
Defence solicitor John Weller told the court he'd spoken with the police officer in charge of the case and had received a brief of evidence.
"I haven't had the opportunity to study it and duplicate it for my client," Mr Weller said.
He asked Magistrate Michael Dakin for an adjournment for that purpose.
Outside court, Mr Weller said his client would defend the charges on the basis the incident was accidental.
"He's entered pleas of not guilty to the charges on the basis he didn't mean to strike the animal," Mr Weller said.
He said they would argue Bucket had entered his property and was "clawing at the chicken coop".
Mr Weller said those birds were "frightened and flying around" and Mr Stewart had fired at the coop in an attempt to scare the dog away.
"Unfortunately an arrow ricocheted and hit the dog," he said.
"He told the police what happened and co-operated with them."
Mr Weller said Mr Stewart and his family had "suffered" as a result of "vigilante" actions, including the words "dog murderer" being painted on the road outside their home.
Mr Stewart remains on bail and the matter will return to court on February 10.