The B.C. dad that beat his family pet to death after it bit someone at Thanksgiving dinner will not serve jail time.

The Chihuahua-cross, named Jersey, died of blunt force trauma last October after being repeatedly hit in the head with a four-foot long piece of wooden fence post. The pup was found buried in a cardboard box after the SPCA was alerted.

The assault came shortly after the five-year-old rescue dog, which weighed around seven pounds, bit Christopher Mathes' six-year-old daughter on the face. The bite caused a small wound, according to cruelty investigators.

Mathes pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal earlier this year, and he faced a $75,000 fine, up to five years in jail or a lifetime ban on owning animals.

Instead, a judge in Kamloops provincial court handed him a 12-month conditional discharge, and a one-year ban on being in the presence of dogs.

The family has apparently already acquired another puppy, but it will not live with the family until the sentence is completed.

BC SPCA chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty equated the lenient punishment to a slap on the wrist.

"His reaction to this very small dog was completely unreasonable and what this sentence suggests is that inflicting this kind of violence – that this type of activity – should be condoned," Moriarty said.

Mathes told the judge he was afraid of the pooch, who had bit several house guests in the past.

But Moriarty said the defence that he was dealing with a "problem dog" was unacceptable, especially given its petite size.