Nicolino Camardi, 19, has been in custody since he was arrested in May. He entered guilty pleas last week to two charges of wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal.
The Calgary Humane Society began investigating Jan. 9 when a starved dog was found dead in a back alley with tape around its muzzle. A dead cat was found in the same area a week later with green painter's tape covering most of its face.
An examination at a veterinarian's office determined the dog had suffered chronic malnourishment before its death. The cat had been strangled and had injuries to its head, tail and hind limbs.
The Crown asked for both a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric assessment for Camardi before sentencing that is scheduled for Feb. 26.
The request was opposed by Camardi's lawyer who said his client has already spent enough time in custody.
Justice George Gaschler ordered the psychiatric assessment. He said he required one to help him come up with an appropriate sentence.
"He has admitted to acts with respect to the dog and the cat which can be described as torture," said Gaschler.
"The Crown makes reference to the disturbing admitted facts in this case. Those facts and the admitted past record of Mr. Camardi give a real and substantial concern that a pathology is present in Mr. Camardi which must be investigated."
Crown prosecutor Gord Haight told the court he intends to seek penitentiary time for Camardi, which would amount to more than two years in prison.
He said outside court afterwards that a psychiatric examination can be helpful in assessing risk.
"One of the things that a psychiatrist will be asked to assess is what risk the accused poses in terms of reoffending. The greater the risk would have a substantial effect on sentencing likely to the accused's detriment," said Haight.
"Often times I've had cases where individuals have been assessed as having anti-social personality disorder or even psychopathy."
Defence lawyer Jack Kelly opposed the psychiatric assessment on the grounds his client has been behind bars long enough. He said by the time sentencing occurs, Camardi will have served the equivalent of a year in jail, with enhanced credit for time served.
Camardi is already seeking help for his problems, Kelly said.
"Mr. Camardi understands and in fact believes he needs psychiatric assistance. He recognizes that he has many psychiatric problems. He has already taken steps to seek a psychiatrist and has been accepted for psychiatric care."
Several animal rights activists were in court and were relieved Camardi will remain behind bars.
"I think they really do need to throw the key away and give this guy some serious time," said Heather Anderson from the Daisy Foundation, a group that fights for stiffer penalties for animal abusers.
"Nobody is going to be very happy to hear that he got time served. I think the entire city would be in an uproar."
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