BASTROP, La. – A judge has ordered conditionally, a fine and community service for an Arkansas man who slit a pit bull’s throat on the camera in Louisiana and another man who took the video and posted on Snapchat.
Steven Sadler and video maker Boots Stanley, both of Hamburg, Arkansas, were sentenced Thursday in Morehouse Parish on one count each of aggravated animal cruelty, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
“Having regard to the inhuman and cruel nature of the crime, the District Attorney’s office asked the judge to impose a severe punishment commensurate with the crime. However, the prosecutor acknowledges that the Court has discretion in sentencing,” district Attorney Steve Tew said in a statement via e-mail.
Each man received three years of probation, a $5,000 fine and 480 hours of community service, Lewis Unglesby, one of Stanley’s attorneys, said in a phone interview from Baton Rouge. The donation of $5,000 to the Morehouse Parish Humane Society want to cancel half of the community service, he said.
Judge Carl Sharp suspended to 3 years imprisonment for each and barred them from owning animals for a year, Tew said.
The men pleaded guilty in April to the crime. Tew told The Associated Press in March that he had not expected that a plea agreement because Sadler is an avid hunter, and the federal law doesn’t allow criminals to possess guns.
Sadler’s lawyer, Bobby Underwood, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Sadler was originally charged with four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, and both men were indicted for conspiracy.
According to the arrest warrant, the first video shows the dog trying to keep the balance on the trunk of a horse being ridden by Stanley, with the men’s laughter in the background. It took several tries to cut the dog’s throat, according to the order.
Sharp said that the men of the probationary period could be reduced after the first year if they behaved correctly and in accordance with the terms of their probation, The News-Star, and KNOE-TV reported. If they do not pay the fine, they would have to spend a year in the parish prison.