A 29-year-old Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to killing his dog after he claimed his own pet “put a hex” on him. On Monday, Joseph W. Elliott was sentenced to prison to serve one to two years followed by three years of probation. For the animal cruelty charge, he was sentenced from 6 to 23 months. For charges related to stealing a car, he will serve from one to two years. The sentences will run concurrently.
According to AbcNews, Elliott’s plea deal with the Lancaster County District included one charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty for the dog’s death and a felony charge of receiving stolen property and misdemeanor false identification regarding the vehicle. On April 28, police had been summoned to the man’s apartment and when they arrived, Elliott had been standing in the doorway naked. He admitted to authorities he had taken methamphetamines.
When police entered the apartment, they found a white dog dead in the bathroom. An investigation and necropsy of the dog revealed he died from eight stab wounds. Humane Officer Jen Nields investigated the case, stating it was the worst case of animal abuse she had ever seen.
“The way he was gagged and the multiple lacerations that were on him from stab wounds, and then just the bruising and contusions that he has and the blunt-force trauma, it was definitely a horrendous time for this dog during his death,” said Nields, who works for the Lancaster County Animal Coalition.
Elliott told Animal Control and police that night his dog had “put a hex” on him, and so he had to strangle his pet. Although he received the maximum penalty at the time of the animal cruelty crime, Libre’s Law had not yet been in effect. The law, named after an abused puppy, have stiffened penalties for cruelty. Officers are now able to file felony level charges for first-time cruelty. It also breaks down penalties for different grades of cruelty based on how bad the behavior was deemed. Under Libre’s Law, Elliott would have received a third-degree felony punishment and a longer prison term.
In addition, Elliott also stole a car and provided police with a false name. He was ordered to pay $265 in restitution.
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