A man, who was charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty after he tied a dog to a tree and stabbed it with a pitchfork before hanging it by the neck and killing it, was levied of his charges as a judge on Thursday declared his actions were not a crime.

The man, identified as Daniel Brighton, who was the owner of the Get Wild mobile petting zoo in Sydney, Australia, brutally killed one of the two dogs that attacked his camel.

The incident took place in January 2016 when his camel, named Alice, suffered serious injuries to her face, legs, and neck after she was attacked by the dogs who had wandered into the place.

According to the court documents, Doel, an eye witness, said the dogs were “hanging off [Alice’s] neck” and wouldn’t let go, and Brighton “had to beat them off with a pole.”

Brighton while trying to save his camel was also attacked by one of the dogs. He, however, managed to get hold of the dog – a bull terrier, tied it to a tree, and then waited for it to calm down. Doel said the dog was “fairly submissive” by this time.

He then stabbed it with a pitchfork at least six times. He then drove off to the vet to get painkillers for his camel leaving the dog there. When he came back from the vet he realized the dog was still alive.

“I will make sure it’s dead,” Brighton told Doel. He then hung the dog by its neck from a tree and smashed its head with a mallet six to eight times.

She said Brighton was “laughing and joking” while he attacked the dog, and remarked that it “won’t die, it’s alive.”

After he was sure that the dog was dead, he buried it and told Doel not to tell anyone about the incident.

However, the news was out and he was charged with two counts of serious cruelty to a dog. In June 2019, he was convicted in the local court and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison, including a non-parole period of two years and two months.

The dog underwent a necropsy and the results found that the “injuries to the animal were likely to cause prolonged suffering and the infliction of blows in that manner was not consistent with the humane 'extinction' of a dog,” the court document stated.

But Brighton went for an appeal at the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the court “quashed” his convictions on Thursday, declaring that he had exterminated a pest animal. Justice Stephen Rothman ruled that Brighton’s methods were “particularly abhorrent” and ultimately cruel, but they did not constitute a crime.

Rothman said although the dog had a collar and a microchip, it turned wild and attacked Brighton’s livestock. The attack on Alice a “vulnerable, docile animal” showed it was a pest. The necropsy results also pointed out that the dog had kangaroo meat in its stomach. Brighton was also clearly trying to kill the dog which was “a nuisance”, “dangerous” and “menacing,” he ruled.

“The conduct of the deceased dog rendered it, objectively, a pest animal and the conduct of [Brighton] was, objectively, open to only one reasonable possibility, namely, that his intention was to rid himself of (or utterly destroy) this pest,” the judge ruled.

Representational image of a handcuff. Pixabay