2 DOGS 1 SWORD 18 MONTHS

By MADELEINE DOHERTY

A SWORD failed to do the trick for a would-be Tweed Heads magician when he attempted to curtail a neighbourhood dog fight.

Lee James Hodges, 28, pleaded guilty in Tweed Heads Court yesterday to intimidating with intent to harm and carrying an offensive weapon in a public place.

The court was told that in January this year Hodges was in his backyard when his small dog and a next door neighbour's ridge-back-mastiff, called Dozer, began barking and growl- ing at each other through the dividing fence.

The neighbour, Ann Clark, called Dozer away but Hodges encouraged his dog with calls of "sic him, sic him".

Soon after, all hell broke loose in Ms Clark's backyard with Dozer and Hodges' dog locked in a brawl.

Hodges made threats towards Ms Clark while hitting the dogs with his fist and then cracking one of the dogs over the head with a timber log.

The dogs finally separated, and with the drama seemingly over, both neighbours retreated to their respective homes.

But not for long.

Ms Clark soon heard more yelling in her back yard and when she went out to look was confronted by Hodges brandishing a sword.

He pointed the sword at Ms Clark at eye level, swearing and threatening to harm her son and dog.

Ms Clark immediately went inside and called police who arrived soon after to find an "extremely agitated Hodges".

Initially he claimed the sword was not his. But finally he confessed.

"It's mine. I made it at metal work,'' he said. ''It's for magic shows."

Hodges admitted to the court that he had become a bit carried away.

"But my little dog was being mauled and I had no control over the other dog. I wish I had apologised," he said.

Magistrate Jeff Linden said what started as a dog fight ended as a serious set of circumstances.

Hodges was placed on a 12-month personal violence order and placed on an 18-month good behaviour bond. The sword was forfeited.



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