The owner of a German shepherd who mauled a maltese shitzu in the middle of a Buninyong oval while its owner watched on in horror has been ordered to pay almost $13,000 and have his dogs put-down.
The Ballarat Magistrates Court on Monday heard the male German shepherd and a female German shepherd, which belonged to the accused's partner, escaped their Buninyong yard in the early hours of April 17 and attacked the small dog as its owner walked her.
The court heard the male German shepherd bit the maltese shitzi around the neck and launched it into the air.
A passerby who heard the dog owner's screams for help ran over with a spirit level and attempted to push the large dogs away as the accused yelled "don't you hit my f****** dogs".
The maltese shitzu was taken to a local vet with serious abdominal injuries, but the dog was later euthanised.
On Monday the 53-year-old owner of the German shepherd pleaded guilty to two counts each of dog biting an animal causing serious injury and dog at large.
The court heard the man found the latch to his gate open, which he put down to a "commotion" he heard around 3am that morning.
The middle-aged man, who had no criminal priors, said he returned to the scene after removing his dogs and checked on the health of the small dog.
A City of Ballarat prosecutor made applications to the court to have the accused pay the victim's vet cost, the seizure costs and legal fees totaling almost $18,000.
Magistrate John Hardy said the case was sad for everyone involved.
"For want of a $2 padlock from Bunnings it wouldn't have happened," he said.
Describing the offending as "non-intentional", Mr Hardy fined the man $2000 without conviction.
He was also ordered to pay the vet bills, $8000 compensation for the seizure and kennel fees for the two dogs and $2000 in legal fees.
Mr Hardy also ordered the two German shepherds be euthanised.
"I take no joy in making these orders," he said.