25 October 2010 | 03:27:44 PM | Source: AAP
A man who loved his dog so much he busted it out of death row, abandoned his family and went on the run has been sentenced to six weeks in jail.
Ronnie Gilbertson's Staffordshire terrier-cross Max was to be destroyed last year by Grant District Council, in South Australia's southeast, after mauling a neighbour's dog.
Gilbertson, 42, a former champion boxer, was given time to say goodbye to Max.
But instead he made headlines by freeing the dog with boltcutters and fleeing to Western Australia, leaving behind his partner and two children.
Gilbertson was arrested in July and later pleaded guilty to contempt of a court order for him to return the dog.
His defence counsel Joana Fuller told the court Max had been euthanased by a vet in Perth after biting another dog.
She urged Judge Peter Brebner to impose a suspended sentence, saying Gilbertson's love of his dog clouded his decision making and judgment.
But Judge Brebner disagreed, jailing Gilbertson for six weeks, less 10 days for time served, to show that the community must obey court orders.
He said Gilbertson's failure to comply was "wilful and continuous".
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