A 45-year-old Narrikup man repeatedly bashed two small pet dogs on the head, then left them for dead in what a shocked Albany magistrate has slammed as a “barbaric act with untold suffering”. John Druin Hooper appeared in Albany Magistrate’s Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to striking his wife’s dogs on the head with a mallet in what he believed at the time was “an ethical decision”. On July 13, 2019, Hooper drove his wife’s two-year-old shih tzu-Maltese cross dogs, Jet and Henry, to a Redmond tree plantation with the intention of putting them down. RSPCA WA prosecutor Brad Boyle told the court Hooper let the two dogs run around so they would become tired and easier to handle before separating them in long grass. Hooper, a father of two, then hit each dog on the head with a mallet once. “Jet made a noise — the offender then hit him three more times on the head, thinking Jet was dead when he saw him shiver and could see blood,” he said. “He then returned to Henry, whom he also struck a few more times on the head before throwing the mallet into the bushes and driving away.” About 2.45pm the next day, an animal cruelty complaint was lodged when someone discovered a small dog at the plantation and took him to a local vet. The dog was identified as Jet. The RSPCA WA liaised with Mt Barker police who went to Hooper’s property, where he openly admitted to taking both dogs to bushland and hitting them with a mallet in an attempt to kill them. Despite searches at the tree plantation over the next couple of days, Henry could not be found. Six days after the attack on July 19, the RSPCA WA received news Henry had been found and was at the Albany pound with multiple head injuries. Both dogs were severely injured, with Jet suffering from multiple wounds to the head, bruising, and a fractured eye socket. Henry had bleeding in both eyes and a head fracture so deep his skull was visible. Mr Boyle said it was a brutal and pre-meditated way to dispose of the dogs, which had endured “prolonged, unnecessary suffering” when there were multiple humane options available. The RSPCA WA asked the court to consider a prohibition order preventing Hooper from owning any animals. He is currently caring for two cats. In a letter to the court, Hooper explained he was experiencing personal and marital issues and “believed he searched for other options and found no alternative”. Hooper’s wife had health issues and he did not believe it was an option for the dogs to remain with her. He accepted he had caused extreme suffering for the dogs and was ashamed of his actions. Speaking in court yesterday, Hooper said the period in question was “the lowest point in my life”. “The one family I’ve ever had was falling apart ... I made the ethical decision to put the dogs down myself,” he said. “I was very distraught putting the dogs down, I was crying and that affected my ability to euthanase them properly, I’m not a cruel person, “I love animals, I was put in a hard situation and (carried out) the most ethical situation with the ability I had.” Magistrate Dianne Scaddan described the attempt to euthanise Henry and Jet as “a brutal, severe and cruel act”. “The fact you thought this would have an ethical outcome ... I’m staggered by that,” she said. “This was not an ethical outcome or solution, it was a barbaric act with untold suffering. “It was a terrible decision and an extreme example of an act of brutality.” Hooper was fined a total of $15,000 and ordered to pay $2831.10 in costs to RSPCA WA. The magistrate also made an order of prohibition of three years, preventing him from owning animals. Hooper has one month to re-home his two cats. Outside court, RSPCA WA spokeswoman Hannah Dreaver said it was an “unfathomable” case of blatant cruelty. “To be treated so brutally and then left to suffer for all that time — they must have been in immense pain and terrified,” she said. “Our animals deserve our love and care. They rely on us for everything and it’s our job to make sure we give it to them. “To betray their trust in a way as brutal as this is just unfathomable.” Despite their ordeal, Jet and Henry are now both fit and healthy and have since been placed in new homes.