A Seoul court sentenced a man to two years in prison on Monday on charges of property damage after he killed a dog while arguing with his girlfriend.
The 22-year-old man surnamed Hong had given the female schnauzer as a gift to his girlfriend, surnamed Kwon, but after their relationship worsened he threw the dog against the corner of a desk and beat it to death, according to the Seoul Central District Court.
He was charged with property damage, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison or a fine of 7 million won ($6,830).
In explaining the charge, a judge at the court said that animals are sometimes treated as nonliving objects to give the proper level of punishment for abusive behavior towards animals.
If tried under the animal protection act, the highest sentence that Hong could receive is just one year in prison, a punishment comparable to that of libel or defamation.
Hong was also charged with inflicting bodily harm and filing false accusations against his girlfriend, saying that she stabbed him in the stomach.
The couple met in May 2012 on a social media site, and in less than six months Hong began to show violent behavior towards Kwon.
When Kwon changed her phone number to avoid contact with Hong, he found Kwon at her home and workplace and used violence.
The court said in its ruling that Hong showed no guilt, denied the allegations and caused psychological trauma that could affect Kwon for the rest of her life.
By Suh Ye-seul (firstname.lastname@example.org)