A young man charged with animal cruelty after kicking his dog in the head didn't know any better at the time, his lawyer told the Bendigo Magistrates' Court.
The 21-year-old, who recently moved to Bendigo, kicked the animal during an incident in Kyabram early this year which had also seen him charged with theft.
He pleaded guilty to theft, animal cruelty, possessing a knife and failing to report for bail at his November 20 appearance.
The court heard the then 20-year-old had been walking his dog on a leash on the night of January 22 when he stopped outside the Woolworths supermarket to rummage through some crates of bread left outside.
CCTV footage captured him returning with a supermarket trolley and kicking his dog in the head.
His partner, a co-accused in the theft, took control of the animal.
The pair then loaded up the trolley with bread, valued at $187.20, and made off with it, disappearing into the service station opposite.
In a separate incident police conducted a pat-down search of the man and found him carrying an 18cm knife.
While he claimed to need it to cut fruit, the police prosecutor observed, no fruit had been found on him.
However, according to his lawyer, the claim about cutting fruit related to work he had been doing at an event at the showgrounds.
Her client believed the bread, which he had found outside the supermarket at night, could have been left there because it wasn't wanted, his lawyer said.
On the interaction with his dog, he had intended to discipline it.
"He now knows that is not the way to discipline a pet," , she said.
The court heard the man was currently caring for his partner and receiving a carers' pension and that the couple were trying to regain custody of their two children, aged one and three, who were living in out-of-home care.
Magistrate Sharon McRae told the offender while there may have been no signs on the bread advising it was still wanted, he couldn't rely on signage for guidance in life.
"There's not going to be signs everywhere in life telling you what you can and can't do," she said.
"If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
She strongly objected to the man's treatment of his dog.
"I don't like that behaviour because dogs can't stick up for themselves and can't tell you what they think," she said.
She sentenced him to a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered the forfeiture of his knife and repayment of the $187.20 for the bread to Woolworths.
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