Calgary

Pet ban for man who tried to hang wife's dog

A Calgary man has received a jail sentence and ban on owning pets for 10 years, the longest such sanction ever imposed in the city, after he tried to hang his wife's dog.

Man punched spouse in the face, spit at police officer

A Calgary man has received a jail sentence and ban on owning pets for 10 years, the longest such sanction ever imposed in the city, after he tried to hang his wife's dog.

Bradley Kim Bergman, 56, got angry when his common-law wife's Corgi got sick inside their southeast home on March 1, 2009, the trial heard.

Bergman tied a rope around the dog named Buddy and tried to hang the animal in the garage. When Denise Head tried to intervene, Bergman punched her in the face.

When Const. David Grouchey responded to Head's 911 call, Bergman spit in the officer's face.

Grouchey found the rope tied so tightly that he couldn't slip his finger between the noose and the dog's neck. The officer managed to remove the rope and the dog survived.

On Monday, provincial court Judge Sean Dunnigan sentenced Bergman to a total of seven months in jail for assaulting Head and Grouchey, and for abusing the dog.

"This was a brutal crime, both with respect to the dog and as well as Denise Head," said Crown prosecutor Gordon Haight. "Often times in cases of animal cruelty there's some domestic violence related element to it."

Dunnigan also imposed a 10-year ban on owning or caring for a pet, believed to be the first such sanction in Canada since the Criminal Code was amended in November 2008 to allow for longer bans.

Heather Anderson, founder of an animal support group called the Daisy Foundation, said she would have preferred to see more jail time, but was pleased with the pet ban.

"I think it's going to make people really think twice about abusing an animal, if they think they're not going to be able to have one for 10 years. Because anybody that's ever had the beauty of having an animal in their life knows they're missing a great deal if they don't have one in their life," she told reporters outside the courtroom.

Dunnigan also ordered Bergman to get counselling for domestic violence.

The judge did not order Bergman to stay away from Head, who said she wanted to move back in with her common-law husband. She no longer has the dog.

With files from the CBC's Bryan Labby

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