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New Zealand family sell home after teenage neighbour who killed their puppy was let off because he has autism

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A shocked New Zealand family have sold their home to move away from a teenage neighbour who cruelly killed their 10-month-old puppy but was let off by the courts because he is autistic.

The 14-year-old, who has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD and cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted stealing the dog, throwing it off a balcony, hitting it in the head with a crowbar and cutting its throat, but was discharged from Youth Court with a clean record, Stuff reported.

Judge Gerard Lynch wrote in his sentencing notes: “Should a young man with significant deficits be essentially criminalised? In my assessment the answer is no.”

He went on to say that while autism does not give a young person a “free pass” it did explain the teenager’s “shocking and cruel” actions, adding he did not believe the teenager was high functioning.

The owner of the puppy, from Canterbury, said the decision seemed unfair given they felt so unsafe living next door to the dog killer that they’ve had to sell up and move.

Her dog vanished in August last year, but after a search of the neighbourhood the teenager’s father told her his son had owned up to the killing.

She told Stuff at the time the family was shocked when the teenager was immediately released on bail back to his house.

“This has been deeply traumatic for our family. Our main concern is our ongoing safety. [The teenager] killed our beautiful, fluffy, friendly little puppy completely unprovoked,” she said.

“We are extremely shocked that this has happened and it has turned our world upside down. We no longer feel safe in our home.”

The discharge comes after a different Youth Court judge decided not to jail a teenager who raped two girls and indecently a third, ordering him to pay them $1,000 each instead.

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