Count who shot wife’s dog dead during ‘acrimonious’ divorce is fined £2,000

Ross McGuinness

Mon, 14 November 2022 at 12:46 pm

Count Konrad Goess-Saurau.  An Austrian count shot his wife's dog dead and hid his body during 'acrimonious' divorce proceedings - but claimed he was putting the pet out of his misery.  See SWNS story SWCCdog.  Count Konrad Goess-Saurau, 70, denied a charge of criminal damage in May 2022 on the grounds that it was reasonable to 'destroy' the animal to end his suffering.  At Swindon Magistrates' Court on Friday, November 11, prosecutor Ben Worthington said the German pointer named Herman was solely owned by Countess Susan Goess-Saurau.
Count Konrad Goess-Saurau has been found guilty of criminal damage after shooting dead his wife’s dog. (SWNS)

An Austrian count who shot dead his wife’s dog during an “acrimonious” divorce has been fined £2,000.

Count Konrad Goess-Saurau, 70, had denied a charge of criminal damage and claimed he had killed the German pointer, named Herman, to put him out of his misery.

But he was found guilty at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Friday and given a £2,000 fine. He must also pay £620 costs and a £200 surcharge.

The court heard the animal was owned solely by the count’s wife of 26 years, Countess Susan Goess-Saurau, who arrived back at her home at Temple Farm in Marlborough, Wiltshire, on 21 November last year and couldn’t find Herman.

After checking CCTV footage that showed her husband taking the dog, she contacted him.

The court heard she claimed his response was: “I have put the dog down, he is disgusting, nobody likes him.”

The countess then called Wiltshire Police to report the incident.

She told the court: “We had a heated discussion in the morning because he’d peed the day before.

“I didn’t see it, but the dog had peed through the bannister on the landing onto the table below.”

Countess Susan Goess-Saurau.  An Austrian count shot his wife's dog dead and hid his body during 'acrimonious' divorce proceedings - but claimed he was putting the pet out of his misery.  See SWNS story SWCCdog.  Count Konrad Goess-Saurau, 70, denied a charge of criminal damage in May 2022 on the grounds that it was reasonable to 'destroy' the animal to end his suffering.  At Swindon Magistrates' Court on Friday, November 11, prosecutor Ben Worthington said the German pointer named Herman was solely owned by Countess Susan Goess-Saurau.
A dog belonging to Countess Susan Goess-Saurau was shot dead by her husband. (SWNS)

Prosecutor Ben Worthington said: “The defendant did not have permission to dispose of the dog in the way he did in any event.”

He said the count admitted the shooting in a handwritten prepared statement given to a police officer in an interview – but claimed the pet had cancer and was in agony.

The court heard the note read: “I fully admit that I shot Herman, my gun dog. I shot him humanely and buried him with my gamekeeper.

“I had to take the merciful route to end Herman’s suffering.”

But the countess, a master of foxhounds with VWH Hunt hunting club, claimed Herman, a present from her mother Brenda Williams for her 46th birthday, was healthy and happy.

She said: “He came riding every morning with me, and out in the afternoon, he was averaging 10 miles a day so he was very, very fit.

“It was such an awful thing to do, the dog didn’t deserve to die and it was my dog, not his dog.

“I adore my dogs. When their time comes, it is done so in a kind, calm and compassionate manner.

“I think he had plenty of life left in him. He was just an old dog that was slowing down a bit.

“I am determined to get justice for my dog who didn’t deserve to die in that manner.”

Mrs Goess-Saurau said previous family dogs had been taken to the vets to be euthanised at the end of their lives and not shot.

Markus Goess-Saurau, son of the defendant.  An Austrian count shot his wife's dog dead and hid his body during 'acrimonious' divorce proceedings - but claimed he was putting the pet out of his misery.  See SWNS story SWCCdog.  Count Konrad Goess-Saurau, 70, denied a charge of criminal damage in May 2022 on the grounds that it was reasonable to 'destroy' the animal to end his suffering.  At Swindon Magistrates' Court on Friday, November 11, prosecutor Ben Worthington said the German pointer named Herman was solely owned by Countess Susan Goess-Saurau.
Markus Goess-Saurau, son of the defendant, gave evidence in court about the dog. (SWNS)

Count Goess-Saurau’s son from a previous marriage, Markus, appearing for the defence, told the court: “He was a hunting dog, he would hunt. He’s well-known for killing deer. It’s something we struggled to stop him doing.”

He said Herman had deteriorated in old age and was “sore, stiff and limping”, adding that his body was covered in “cancerous lumps”.

“There wasn’t a part of his body you could put your hand on where there wasn’t a bump”, he said.

“I’ve seen him happier, given the dog he once was.”

Temple Farm gamekeeper Phil Holborow said Herman was ill.

“He had lumps all over him and he was wobbly on his legs, his back end was going, that’s how I’d describe it. He was ill, the poor old boy looked ill,” he told the court.

FILE PICTURE - Dated summer 1999 - Count Konrad Goess-Saurau with his horse Saluter.  An Austrian count shot his wife's dog dead and hid his body during 'acrimonious' divorce proceedings - but claimed he was putting the pet out of his misery.  See SWNS story SWCCdog.  Count Konrad Goess-Saurau, 70, denied a charge of criminal damage in May 2022 on the grounds that it was reasonable to 'destroy' the animal to end his suffering.  At Swindon Magistrates' Court on Friday, November 11, prosecutor Ben Worthington said the German pointer named Herman was solely owned by Countess Susan Goess-Saurau.
The count claimed he was putting the dog out of his misery. (SWNS)

“In my words, he needed putting down. In my words. I think he was suffering.

“He [the Count] told me the dog crapped everywhere in the house. He said, ‘I think we need to deal with it.’ He asked me to bury it, so that’s what I did.”

But prosecutor Mr Worthington said: “He wasn’t at the end of his life – he did not need to be taken out and shot.”

Returning a verdict of guilty, magistrate Beverly Payne told the count: “We note the relationship was acrimonious and had been on that day.

“We are sure that you acted unreasonably, you could have organised taking Herman to a vet to be euthanised like all the other pets.

“You must have known that would have upset your wife. Therefore we do find you guilty.”

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