Former boxer defends bashing dog

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 05:00 05/08/2014

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A 70-year-old former boxer charged with bashing a dog's head with a walking stick says he was only protecting himself and his border terrier.

Paul Edward Godbaz defended himself in Palmerston North District Court yesterday.

On December 5, he and his terrier, Dougal, were walking in Wood St, Palmerston North. As they passed the home of Sophie Barnard, her blue heeler, Tess, was loose in the property.

It jumped up on to the front fence, and Godbaz hit it with his walking stick.

During the judge-alone trial, Barnard said Godbaz hit Tess about six times.

She saw the incident through her lounge window and went out to confront Godbaz, who told her Tess was a "menace" and dared her to report him to the authorities. She did just that.

Jamie Baty, who lived across the road from Barnard, said he saw Godbaz waving a stick over the fence and heard a dog whining.

"How else did it get cut? Did it headbutt the fence while [Godbaz] swung a stick at it?"

Tess was taken to Cahill Animal Hospital and assessed by Dr Genevieve Rogerson.

Rogerson said the dog had a graze to its right eyelid, which was also swollen.

The dog also had a slow heartbeat, and its right eye was not responding to light, signs it had possibly suffered brain damage.

The injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma and required medical assistance, she said.

Godbaz, who gave evidence in his own defence, said Tess's head, chest and front legs were over the fence.

The dog was "snarling" and he feared for himself and Dougal.

"That dog was within a metre of me, threatening me. The biting, snarling, scratching parts of that dog were in my face."

Godbaz, a former boxer with more than 200 fights under his belt, said his hand-eye co-ordination was still sharp and he was positive his walking stick hit Tess once in the chest.

Any head injury could have happened while the dog fell from the fence, which would not have been his fault.

"If I ankle-tap someone and they fall over and hit their nose, I can't be accused of punching them in the face.

"It just doesn't make sense."

Godbaz said he was a widower who had no other company, apart from Dougal.

"That little dog is my family, and I will protect that little dog.

"That's exactly what I did."

Judge Stephanie Edwards will deliver her judgment tomorrow. Fairfax NZ

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- The Dominion Post

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