BASTROP, LA (AP) – A judge has ordered probation, a fine and community service for an Arkansas man who slit a pit bull’s throat on camera in Louisiana and another man who made the video and posted it 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 sentence of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
“Given the inhumane and vicious nature of this crime, the District Attorney’s office requested that the judge impose a severe sentence commensurate with the crime. However, the District Attorney acknowledges that the Court has sole discretion in sentencing,” District Attorney Steve Tew said in an emailed statement.
Each man got 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. Donating $5,000 to the Morehouse Parish Humane Society would cancel half the community service, he said.
Judge Carl Sharp suspended a 3-year prison sentence for each and barred them from owning any animals for a year, Tew said.
The men pleaded guilty in April to the felony. Tew had told The Associated Press in March that he didn’t expect a plea agreement because Sadler is an avid hunter and federal law forbids felons to possess guns.
Sadler’s attorney, Bobby Underwood, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Sadler originally had been charged with four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, and both men had been charged with conspiracy.
According to the arrest warrant, the video first shows the dog trying to keep its balance on the rump of a horse being ridden by Stanley, with men’s laughter in the background. It took several tries to cut the dog’s throat, according to the warrant.
Sharp said the men’s probation could be reduced after the first year if they are found to have behaved well and complied with terms of their probation, The News-Star and KNOE-TV reported. If they don’t pay the fine, they would have to spend a year in the parish jail.