James Daniel O'Brien has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after using a belt to flog his dog.
James Daniel O'Brien has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after using a belt to flog his dog.

‘I f----- up’: Dog flogger’s regrets after belt beating

A young dad says he is an animal lover and he was "just very drunk" when kicked, dragged and flogged his dog with a belt.

Daniel James O'Brien was banned from owning a dog for three years on Thursday when he received a suspended sentence for animal cruelty.

Maroochydore Magistrates Court heard his neighbours rushed to O'Brien's Nambour home on July 19 when they heard a dog yelping and crying in pain.

One man told police he came to the door to see a "scared dog" cowering in the corner of the yard just after 10pm.

"The witness stated he saw the defendant with an item in his hand that looked like a belt and his was belting his dog numerous times while it was trapped in the corner of his yard," police prosecutor Dave Bradley said.

"The witness then saw the defendant grab the dog by the scruff of its neck and yank it hard before letting the dog go and he kicked it once."

The court heard the dog was yelping throughout the ordeal.

O'Brien's neighbour yelled for him to leave the dog alone.

"I can do what I want and it's none of your business," O'Brien replied.

The court heard the 26-year-old then dragged the dog to a small room under the house.

The neighbour told police he heard loud banging coming from the room and heard the dog yelp for a further 10 minutes.

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Three other neighbours said they heard the dog crying.

"(One) stated she ran to the toilet and looked through the glass slats towards the address and could see the defendant dragging the dog and beating it," Sen-Sgt Bradley said.

She began recording the ordeal on her phone and called police.

Officers arrived to find O'Brien drunk.

He had been in a yelling match and a physical fight with one of the neighbours who confronted him about the animal cruelty.

O'Brien was arrested and spent the night in the watch house.

Sen-Sgt Bradley argued O'Brien should be sentenced to three months in jail to serve one.

He read a Gandhi quote which he said mirrored the need to deter the community from animal cruelty.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated," Sen-Sgt Bradley read to the court.

O'Brien on Thursday confirmed his guilty plea to animal cruelty and committing public nuisance.

He said he had made great efforts to turn his life around since the offence.

"I willingly gave the dog away the next day because I knew I had f----- up," O'Brien said.

"I have since quit drinking."

He said he had been in an ongoing feud with his neighbours.

"I am very remorseful because I still have to explain to my three-year-old boy, every day we go out in the backyard, why the dog isn't there," O'Brien said through tears.

Magistrate Rod Madsen told O'Brien he was an animal lover.

"So am I your honour, it's just I was very drunk," O'Brien replied.

Mr Madsen said the community held a dim view of animal cruelty offenders but referred to a judge's decision which stated jail was a last resort.

"You acted in the best way you could afterwards by finding a more suitable home for the dog," he said.

O'Brien was sentenced to one month in jail, wholly suspended.

A conviction was recorded and O'Brien was banned from owning a pet for three years.