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Courtroom sketch of Nicolino Camardi on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. The Crown wants a stiff sentence for a Calgary man who abused, starved and killed a dog and cat. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Janice Fletcher

Janice Fletcher/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Calgary man who abused, starved and killed a dog and cat was sentenced to 22 months in jail Friday and is banned from owning a pet for the rest of his life.

Nicolino Camardi, who is 19, has been in custody since he was arrested last May and is being given 16 months of credit for time served.

"I accept that there is rehabilitative requirement in a fit sentence of a very troubled and severely addicted young man," said Justice George Gaschler.

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"There is also a need for close community supervision of Mr. Camardi who is at risk of relapse and consequent further criminal and violent behaviour."

Camardi pleaded guilty in December to wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal.

The Calgary Humane Society began an investigation in January 2014 after a dog was found dead with tape around its muzzle and a dead cat was discovered with tape covering most of its face.

An examination at a veterinarian's office determined the dog had suffered chronic malnourishment before its death. The cat had been strangled and had injuries to its head, tail and hind limbs.

The Calgary Humane Society says the sentence reflects the serious nature of the offences.

"This is a horrific and violent crime that got the attention of the city and beyond in a way that animal cruelty has not before," said Brad Nichols, manager of animal cruelty investigations.

"This was the case that citizens put their foot down and said, we are not going to tolerate animal abuse. This was the most complex animal cruelty case that we have ever investigated."

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The Crown prosecutor had asked the court to impose a "new high-water mark" in the sentencing but this sentence falls short of the three years he had requested.

"Perspective is important here. This, to my knowledge, is the highest sentence in Alberta ever received for an animal cruelty case," said Gord Haight.

"My submission, quite simply, was the facts demanded it. This was certainly the most serious case of animal cruelty that I had ever prosecuted before."

Camardi was also handed three years of probation and was ordered to attend counselling for anger issues, drugs and alcohol.

He remained silent as the sentence was read in court. Earlier this week he did offer a brief apology.

"I just want to say I understand what I did. It was horrible," he said. "I know that I can do it [change] and am really sorry for the things I've done. The public and everyone has a right to feel the way they do."

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Heather Anderson from the Daisy Foundation, a group that fights for stiffer penalties for animal abusers, was disappointed.

"It's pathetic that our justice system does not see that these animal abuse cases need to have much higher penalties. It's just not right," Anderson said choking back tears.

"It's time that something happened and people started speaking out on behalf of these animals."

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