NEWMARKET, Ont. - A man who repeatedly tortured his girlfriend's dogs until one succumbed to broken ribs, a fractured skull and two detached retinas has been sentenced to a year in jail.

Christopher Michael Munroe of Toronto has also been banned from owning a dog for 25 years, must complete 150 hours of community service and pay $13,000 in vet bills to the owner.

The abuse was discovered in 2008 by a vet who ran tests that showed the two Boston Terrier-type dogs had been subjected to numerous "brutal" beatings over a six-week period.

The vet reported the torture to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the man was convicted on April 15 of one count of wilfully killing an animal and two counts of wilfully causing unnecessary pain.

The dogs' owner had previously spent $6,000 on medical fees for her pets, unaware that her boyfriend was torturing the animals.

Connie Mallory, of the OSPCA, calls the sentence a huge step forward for animal welfare.