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Appeal filed for conviction and sentencing of Northern Peninsula man who shot dog

George Payne is appealing his conviction and sentencing for shooting and killing a dog on the Northern Peninsula earlier last year.

The 79-year-old man from Parsons Pond was convicted in May of this year by Judge Wayne Gorman of the provincial court in Corner Brook, who then sentenced Payne to six months of house arrest July 31.

After a trial earlier this year, Gorman found Payne guilty of careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm without being the holder of a licence, and injuring or endangering an animal.

The court had heard that Payne went after a dog named Sammy after it had attacked Payne’s pet dog Trooper in May 2017. Gorman also heard that Sammy had already killed another dog owned by Payne on a prior occasion and that Payne was frustrated that prior attempts to have authorities deal with Sammy’s vicious behavior had not prevented the attack.

After Trooper was injured by Sammy, Payne retrieved a rifle from his son’s residence, then walked through a residential neighbourhood with the loaded gun. He shot the dog twice near homes, with children playing in the area.

Payne’s lawyer, Jim Bennett, filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador last week.

The grounds for the appeal of Payne’s conviction of careless use of a firearm, according to documents filed with the court, are that there were insufficient facts to support the conviction.

Payne is also appealing the sentence as being unduly harsh because Payne, although he did not possess a valid firearms licence, was not prohibited from possessing a firearm at the time and had previously been a valid licence holder.

The documents filed by Bennett also said Gorman did not give enough merit to the notion that Payne acted in the heat of the moment in shooting a roaming dog that had previously killed and attacked his dogs.

Bennett also cited Payne’s age and health concerns as grounds for the sentence being too harsh and said Gorman relied on sentencing precedents involving cases that were distinctly different than the circumstances of Payne’s offences.

Bennett is also appealing a restitution order requiring Payne to pay vet bills in the amount of around $1,888 in the futile attempt to save Sammy’s life after being shot.

Bennett wants the Supreme Court to overturn the firearms conviction or impose a conditional discharge if the conviction is upheld.

He has also asked for the 19-month probation order imposed by Gorman be reduced to a lower level and for the restitution order be set aside completely.

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