By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
It’s not uncommon for some degree of jealousy to play out in relationships.
Indeed, most of us can relate to having felt the emotion, and for some of us, we’re even flattered when our partner displays it, taking it as a sign of love.
Nevertheless, when jealousy goes beyond a mild reaction and escalates into paranoia, obsession and even violence, it starts to become a problem.
To highlight a case in point, in late 2019, a man from Sydney’s inner west discovered his former girlfriend’s photos on a dating site and decided he would take out his jealousy using violence towards his French bulldog that they owned together.
The man, a 51-year-old car wash owner, filmed himself repeatedly abusing his French bulldog named Eiffel and sent the videos to his ex-partner as his payback.
Videos Show Sydney Man Kicking Dog Five Times in the Face and Calling Him “Little C***”
In late 2019, 51-year-old John Odah, from Sydney’s inner west suburb of Concord, sent four lots of footage to his ex-partner in which he was shown kicking his dog in the face.
In one of the videos, Mr Odah could be seen walking up to Eiffel sitting outside in the sun before kicking him.
When Eiffel tried to move away, the man approached him and kicked him again.
In another video, Eiffel was shown being kicked five times, while in another, Mr Odah could be heard saying, “Say hello to mummy, that’s right now your head you little c***”.
The man claimed he carried out the animal abuse because he found photos of his ex-girlfriend on the site seeking.com after she came home from Ireland to attend her sister’s funeral.
RSPCA Investigators Discover Eiffel in Mr Odah’s Home Laying in Pool of Diarrhoea
In December 2019, RSPCA investigators were alerted of the abuse and conducted a search of Mr Odah’s home.
The investigation led to the discovery of Eiffel laying down in a pool of diarrhoea.
Further examination revealed that the French bulldog had undergone a series of severe health problems, including engorged blood vessels in the eyes, evidence of diarrhoea, skin ulceration on the scrotum, and inflammation and redness between his toes.
In addition to the physical injuries Eiffel suffered, vets were also able to notice that he exhibited fearful behaviour as a consequence of the abuse.
“The vet also reviewed the footage taken from the offender’s phone and found, as a matter of expert opinion, the abuse documented would have caused the dog extreme distress, and pain and suffering, including extreme mental suffering”, the RSPCA said.
Eiffel was given anti-anxiety medication and required management to support his anxiety.
Mr Odah Sentenced to Two-Year Community Corrections Order for Animal Cruelty
In May 2020, Mr Odah was sentenced to a two-year community corrections order for his animal cruelty offences.
In addition, he was banned from owning a dog for two years and was also ordered to pay $6,157.34 in veterinary treatment and shelter costs to RSPCA NSW.
Nevertheless, the man has since appealed the sentences, believing them to be too severe.
In a signed affidavit tendered to the court, Mr Odah accepted responsibility for his abuse of Eiffel, saying it occurred during a time when he was under business pressures and had found out his ex-girlfriend was on a dating site.
“It was during these periods that my ability to control myself was lost and I mistreated my dog. I am sorry for that and did not wish to harm him in any way”, Mr Odah said.
“I accept that by kicking him (with) what I thought were gentle kicks I could show my ex-partner the state her departure had left both myself and our dog in.”
Meanwhile, Eiffel was taken into the custody of the RSPCA.
Upon delivering the judgement, Magistrate Stapleton said, “This type of cruelty to animals is one that goes on behind closed doors; that is hard to detect; that was only detected in this case because of [the man’s transmission of video evidence and malicious] texts to his ex-partner.”
According to the opinion of the Court, the offender’s conduct was made more serious by the fact that domestic violence was a feature of the offence.
The two main legislation prescribing heavy penalties for animal cruelty like this in NSW is section 530 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and section 5 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW).
The penalties range from up to 6-months jail to 5-years jail with fines ranging from up to $5,500 to $27,500, depending on the type and seriousness of the animal cruelty.
An act of cruelty has been defined in section 4(2) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW). It defines it as including an act or omission to the animal that unjustifiably, unnecessarily or unreasonably causes it to be killed, wounded, mutilated, beaten maimed, abused, tormented, tortured, terrified, infuriated, over-worked, over-loaded, over-driven, over-ridden, over-used, exposed to excessive heat or cold or inflicted with pain.