Court hears of ‘horrible scene’ after dog was shot
A MAN charged over the bow and arrow shooting of a dog which was later euthanased has told Byron Bay Local Court he did not intend to harm the animal.
Robert Bruce Stewart, 60, is facing a hearing on the charges of recklessly torturing and seriously injuring an animal and committing an act of aggravated cruelty.
Police allege Mr Stewart committed these offences when he shot Irish wolfhound x malamute puppy, Bucket, inside his South Golden Beach property on the morning of December 6 last year.
Bucket was the dog of the accused’s neighbour, Kris Thompson.
Another resident, Ashley Gould, told the court of an earlier confrontation with the accused, which occurred while Mr Gould was walking down the street with his young son and their dog.
“He was getting in my face, swearing very bad things focusing the attention on my dog,” Mr Gould said.
He said Mr Stewart was attempting to film his dog, which was not on a lead.
Later on, Mr Gould said he believed “something bad had happened” when Bucket’s family were looking for him.
He drove to the end of the short street to help look for the dog and when he returned, he could hear yelping, the court heard.
He told the court he was “extremely distressed” after seeing Bucket on the ground, bleeding.
“It was a horrible scene,” he said.
Mr Gould said he sat with a distressed Bucket in the back of a car on the way to the vet.
Another resident, Lucy Johnson, told the court she called the police in July last year after she was confronted by Mr Stewart swinging a wooden stick at her two dogs in what she believed was an attempt to provoke them.
She told the court Mr Stewart said to her: “get rid of these f---ing dogs or I will”.
When he later gave evidence, Mr Stewart disputed the words he used and the circumstances.
He told the court the same dogs had repeatedly “rushed at” him and his family, including on that July day.
Mr Stewart said Bucket was jumping up at his chicken coop in a “frenzy” the morning of the shooting.
He has told the court he shot arrows at a piece of tin, in an attempt to make “a big loud noise”.
He claimed the third and final arrow he shot bounced off a tree and ricocheted into Bucket.
Defence solicitor John Weller put the allegations to his client.
“Did you deliberately try to hurt or injure or kill the dog that was, you say, frenzied at your chicken coop?” Mr Weller asked.
The accused responded: “no”.
When asked whether he had another option, Mr Stewart said he felt using his bow and arrow was his only choice “without jeopardising (his) safety”.
Mr Stewart is set to be cross-examined this afternoon.