A man has apologised for striking a dog three times in the head with a blunt object and causing it to bleed to death.
Tilly, a French Mastiff, died at a Warne Street property in Wellington in November 2018.
Her killer was 44-year-old Wellington man Kevin John Hodgkinson.
According to a statement of agreed police facts presented in court, he broke Tilly's skull in three places and threw her lifeless body in a garbage bin.
A post-mortem examination conducted by Doctor Hemmie Strydom found Tilly died with three full skin thickness lacerations on the top of her nose, skull and near where her ear and head met. The rest of her body was uninjured.
Hodgkinson claimed he only killed Tilly because he accidentally reversed his vehicle over her and wanted to put her out of her misery.
Dr Strydom concluded Tilly had not been run over, but died due to severe head injuries caused by three heavy blows to her skull.
In an affidavit Hodgkinson said he was "very sorry" for what he did.
"At the time I beat the dog to death I was drinking heavily and my depression was pretty bad," Hodgkinson confessed.
"When things are not going well for me... I often turn to alcohol. I don't think I was coping that well but I can't totally blame what I have done on these things."
Hodgkinson was sentenced in Wellington Local Court on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to one count of serious animal cruelty.
Magistrate Claire Girotto acknowledged Hodgkinson was previously of good character, completed a program to deal with his alcohol abuse and was not a danger to the community.
She said the many people were affected by Hodgkinson's decision to kill the "defenceless animal" - including neighbours, police, the ranger and vet - needed to be acknowledged.
After considering Hodgkinson's family responsibilities, guilty plea and willingness to seek help for substance misuse and mental ill health, magistrate Girotto sentenced him to a 14-month term of imprisonment which is to be served in the community.
She also fined Hodgkinson $5000 and ordered him to undertake 200 hours of community service.
"It's a heavy sentence... I am an animal lover," magistrate Girotto said.