03/20/2014 05:01 EDT | Updated 05/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Saskatchewan man guilty of shooting neighbour family's pet dog

SASKATOON - A judge has found a man from rural Saskatchewan guilty of charges related to the shooting of a neighbour family's dog last April.

Eugene Krawchuk was convicted of killing a St. Bernard puppy without lawful excuse and was sentenced to 12 months probation — meaning he'll have a criminal record.

He was acquitted of carelessly using a firearm and of destroying the dog other than in a prescribed manner.

Krawchuk, who is 59, told court he was protecting his farm animals when he shot the 11-month old dog named Bentley.

The judge said he didn’t believe Krawchuk’s testimony that the dog was harassing his livestock.

Krawchuk and his wife were both found guilty of having an unlicensed gun.

Laurie Krawchuk was given a conditional discharge with 12 months of probation.

Court heard Bentley had wandered into Krawchuk's pasture in the Rural Municipality of Grant in north-central Saskatchewan on April 11, 2013.

The defence had argued that Krawchuk had the right to protect his animals and only loaded his .22-calibre rifle when he knew he didn’t have another choice.

The Crown suggested that Krawchuk planned to kill the dog from the moment he heard commotion outside. In his testimony, Krawchuk admitted to loading the rifle before knowing what the dog was doing.

The Crown also pointed out that Krawchuk put 16-year-old Lianne Price in danger when he raised his gun and fired as she pleaded for him not to kill her pet. Bentley, whimpering and twitching, died in her arms.

Court was told Price didn't have a leash with her when she tried to retrieve Bentley, who wasn't responding to her commands.

The trial also heard there was bad blood between the families.

The Krawchuks both testified that the Price family's three other dogs had often made it into their pasture and chased their animals.

Michael Price testified that when he heard a rifle crack and saw his daughter drop to her knees, he thought she had been shot.

He said when he realized it was Bentley that had been hit, he grabbed Krawchuk by the collar and demanded he apologize to Price's daughter.

Price, who admitted giving him a hard push on the back of the head, is charged with assault. His case is still before the court.

(CKOM, The Canadian Press)