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Probation for man who put fists into car after dog hit

Mar 29 2012

A 25-year-old Sooke man was sentenced to probation in Victoria provincial court Wednesday for punching the hood of a woman's car after the vehicle struck his dog.

The incident occurred on Aug. 11, 2010, in the 1500-block of Gladstone Avenue when a dachshund belonging to Neil Thomas Fahlman got away from him and ran onto the road, court heard.

The dog was struck by a car but not badly injured. Fahlman was angry and upset, and yelled at the female driver from in front of her car, ordering her to back up.

The woman was "almost paralyzed with fear," court heard. Fahlman struck the car hood with his fists, causing dents.

Fahlman's outburst was spontaneous and emotional, said his lawyer, Robert Farvolden. Fahlman grew up with dogs in the house and cared deeply for them.

He also suffers from various conditions, including fetal alcohol syndrome and a form of autism.

Fahlman thought the woman had been speeding and got angry because he believed by doing so she put his dog's life in danger, the lawyer said.

Judge Adrian Brooks empathized with Fahlman's concern for his dog.

"We all love our dogs but you have to appreciate it from the other person's point of view," he said, urging Fahlman to be more tolerant in future.

"I hope it's a lesson learned ... I think you have got the message," Brooks said.

He ordered Fahlman, who was charged with mischief, to pay the victim $300 for her insurance deductible. Brooks also ordered a 12-month period of probation.

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