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Jailed for busting dog out of 'death row'

world Updated: Oct 25, 2010 14:01 IST
death row

An Australian man who busted his dog out of "death row" and abandoned his family to go on the run with it was jailed for six weeks on Monday.

An Adelaide court heard former champion boxer Ronnie Gilbertson, 42, was motivated by his overriding love for Max, a Staffordshire terrier-cross who had been ordered to be put down for mauling a neighbour's dog.

Gilbertson used boltcutters to free Max during a farewell visit and fled to western Australia, before being arrested in July. He had pleaded guilty to contempt of a court order instructing him to return the dog.

"He could not bear the thought of returning Max to custody," defence counsel Joana Fuller told the South Australian Court earlier.

"His actions were motivated out of a concern for his dog and only a concern for his dog's welfare and nothing else. His love of his dog clouded his decision-making and judgment."

Judge Peter Brebner found Gilbertson, who left behind his partner and two children when he fled, was "wilful and continuous" in disobeying the court order. Meanwhile, Max had been put down by a vet in Perth, the court heard.