Man who cut dog's 'neck in half' should spend 2 years in prison: Crown

Robert Nicholson, 36, should spend two years in prison for beating and stabbing to death his tenants' dog in a fit of revenge, the prosecution told a Calgary court on Friday. The defence argues the attack was totally out of character, and is calling for a conditional sentence.

Warning: Story contains distressing details

Chevy was killed last year and buried in a backyard in Renfrew. (Facebook)

Robert Nicholson, 36, should spend two years in prison for the beating and stabbing death of Chevy the dog last year, according to the prosecution.

"I have great regret, I think about this every day and every night," said Nicholson at his sentencing hearing in a Calgary court on Thursday.

"I'm so terribly sorry."

Nicholson pleaded guilty to animal abuse charges earlier this year.

The prosecution says he deliberately killed the dog to take revenge against his tenants, but the defence argues he committed the act in a fit of rage that was totally out of character.

Provincial Court Judge John Bascom will decide on a sentence on Jan. 31.

Robert Nicholson hides his face as he leaves court after lawyers argued what his sentence should be for the fatal beating and stabbing of his neighbour's dog, Chevy. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Joe Hossay, his wife, three children and their border collie cross, Chevy, lived on the main floor of a home in Renfrew that they rented from Nicholson, who lived in the basement suite.

After a three month trip to the Philippines to visit his wife, Nicholson returned to find some of his belongings missing and claimed Hossay was late paying rent.

In a rage, Nicholson broke into the Hossays' flat and chased the dog into the backyard, where he struck the animal with the blunt end of an axe. The Hossays were not home at the time.

The dog's skull was fractured, but he wasn't dead. Nicholson then retrieved a serrated knife from the house and continued the attack, stabbing and sawing at Chevy's neck.

Chevy suffered before dying: vet

Nicholson said he did it because he believed the dog was suffering, and wanted to put him out of his misery — a claim disputed by prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood.

"No one tries to end a dog's suffering by literally trying to cut [its] neck in half," Greenwood said.

Eventually the dog bled to death.

A vet who later examined the animal estimated it would have taken a minimum of 10 minutes, but likely "much longer," for Chevy to die.

Nicholson buried the animal in the back yard.

"This was really an out of character event," said defence lawyer Michael Oykhman.

Robert Malcom Nicholson cried in court on Thursday as he apologized for killing Chevy. (Facebook)

The lawyer also said his client has a low IQ, ADHD and is not able to manage stress well.

Okyhman is seeking a conditional sentence of one to two years, meaning Nicholson would be on house arrest and would not spend any time in custody.

Greenwood argued Nicholson deliberately killed the dog as a means of revenge against his neighbours and should be given a minimum two-year sentence.