Thursday, December 11, 2008

Los Angeles Man Sentenced in Ax Killing of Dog

A 37-year-old Los Angeles man who pleaded no contest last month to killing his brother’s basset hound with an ax was sentenced this week.

Deputy District Attorney Theresa Mitchell said Rudy Fernandez was sentenced to 294 days in county jail, five years of probation and 120 days in a mental health program. At the time of sentencing, the defendant had already served his jail term.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anne H. Egerton ordered the defendant to attend a mandatory 48-session animal cruelty program and pay $500 in restitution to the Los Angeles City Department of Animal Services. Additionally, Fernandez may not own, possess, maintain or harbor any animals for the duration of his probation.

Fernandez pleaded no contest to one count of felony animal cruelty on Nov. 4.

On March 13, 2008, the defendant reportedly unsuccessfully attempted to strangle the dog, first with his hands and then by pinning it to the ground with his feet and placing a wood fencepost to its neck, Los Angeles Police Department Animal Cruelty Task Force authorities said.

Fernandez, who was in charge of the animal’s care while his brother was incarcerated, then reportedly used an ax to strike the dog’s head, fracturing its skull and killing the animal. Newton Division patrol officers found the bloodied dog in a trash bin when they responded to an animal cruelty investigation.

If the defendant violates the conditions of his probation, he faces up to three years in state prison with no credit for time spent in custody.

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