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Warning: Graphic details
Calgary dog 'butchered' over rent money and property
Crown: 'We all lose our temper but we don't end up killing the family dog'
By Bill Kaufmann, Calgary Sun
First posted: Thursday, November 10, 2016 04:29 PM EST | Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2016 06:15 PM EST
** Editor's Note: Details of this story might disturb some readers **
The man who slashed his neighbours' dog to death in a rage over missing property wept in court Thursday as the graphic details of his crime were read.
But Crown Prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood was unsparing in her condemnation of how Robert Nicholson "butchered" border collie-chocolate Labrador cross Chevy on March 23, 2015 at his Renfrew home.
"What happened to Chevy can only be described as stark, unmitigated horror," she said.
"He had several opportunities to stop but never did ... this dog was murdered in a savage and violent manner."
Earlier this year, Nicholson pleaded guilty to causing harm to an animal, an act that began when he'd returned home from a trip to the Philippines.
An agreed statement of facts says Nicholson, 36, was furious over neighbour Joe Hossay's failure to pay rent and suspected him of stealing some of his property.
He then kicked in Hossay's door thinking he was retrieving his TV and was confronted by Chevy in the otherwise vacant suite.
Nicholson struck the dog on the head with the blunt end of an axe but "the axe blow did not render Chevy unconscious so Mr. Nicholson stabbed Chevy twice in the neck/throat with a knife in an attempt to kill her quickly," according to the statement.
But he concluded that knife was too dull, so returned with a sharper one and "cut through Chevy's neck with the knife."
A veterinarian told authorities Chevy would have suffered for more than 10 minutes gasping for air before death but also said the dog could have survived if she'd only been struck by the axe, said Greenwood.
"We all lose our temper but we don't end up killing the family dog," said Greenwood, who noted Nicholson then buried the dog in the backyard and told police the animal had been hit by a car.
She asked the court for at least a two-year sentence, though defence lawyer Michael Oykhman argued a conditional sentence of one to two years was more appropriate, given the offender's remorse, ADHD and lower IQ that led to making bad decisions.
"For someone with a cognitive difficulty, it was simply too much for him to handle," said Oykhman, adding Nicholson had just completed a stressful voyage from the Philippines.
He also said his client sought to euthanize Chevy after hitting her with an axe.
"He tried to put the dog out of its misery," said Oykhman.
Greenwood rejected that argument, insisting the dog was killed out of revenge.
Nicholson — who's been a dog owner with no prior record of abuse — then delivered a tearful apology to the court, saying he'd never do such a thing again.
"I have great regret, I think about this every day and night," he said.
Nicholson said he "feared for his family" in the Philippines, whom he supports financially, if he were to go to prison.
When he was briefly in remand, Nicholson was threatened by guards, said Oykhman.
Provincial Court Judge John Bascom is to hand down a sentence Jan. 31.
BKaufmann@postmedia.com (external - login to view)
on Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn
Robert Nicholson leaves the Calgary Courts Centre after he pleaded guilty to one count of causing harm to an animal. Leah Hennel/Postmedia

Calgary dog 'butchered' over rent money and property | Warning: Graphic details