14 September 2023

Man who broke dog's leg by throwing it down stairs claims he's 'not someone who would harm animals'

| Albert McKnight
x-ray of broken dog leg

The dog’s leg was broken by 34-year-old Daniel Christopher Grech in a case of animal cruelty. Photo: Tendered to the court.

CONTENT WARNING: This article may distress some readers.

A man threw a small dog down stairs causing its leg to be “completely shattered” later claimed “he’s not someone who would harm animals”.

Daniel Christopher Grech, who was once a member of the Comancheros, although his current links with the bikie gang are unknown, appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday (12 September).

He got into an argument with a woman in 2022, during which he pushed her in the chest, then picked up her 7 kg Japanese spitz and hurled it down a flight of stairs, court documents say.

The dog landed heavily on the concrete below and immediately started yelping loudly while lying on the ground.

Grech walked away while the woman ran to pick her dog up, which continued to cry and could not move.

A few weeks later, the woman saw him again and this time he grabbed her around her neck and punched her in the face.

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Among the charges, the 34-year-old from O’Connor pleaded guilty to were aggravated cruelty to an animal causing a serious injury, assault and choking.

In court, Magistrate Jane Campbell described the dog’s injury as being a “completely shattered bone”.

The dog had to undergo three surgeries, which cost about $15,000. Grech has repaid the woman about $2000 towards that sum.

His lawyer, Legal Aid’s Jan de Bruin, said all his client could say was “he’s not someone who would harm animals and he can’t explain what happened”.

He also said it “all happened in that moment”. His client was quite remorseful, he said.

The court heard the woman had initially been reluctant to speak to police because she was afraid of potential repercussions from doing so. Prosecutor Michael Gemmell said her fears were not misplaced as Grech had assaulted her again a few weeks after injuring her dog.

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He asked for a reparations order so Grech had to pay the remaining costs for the dog’s surgeries, but Dr de Bruin asked the magistrate to decline such an order as when his client was on liberty, he had “paid as much as he could afford at that point in time”.

He was also unlikely to be released from custody in the near future, and when he was, he may be on welfare benefits.

Magistrate Campbell said she would sentence Grech on 25 September.

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