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Woman gets prison term for fatal dog attacks

/ Source: The Associated Press

A woman whose bulldogs mauled two people to death, including a 91-year-old man, was sentenced Thursday to up to 15 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Stanley Latreille ordered Diane Cockrell to pay restitution as well as serve from 43 months to 15 years.

Cockrell pleaded no contest last month to two felony counts of keeping dangerous animals causing death and a third lesser charge. A no-contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.

Authorities said four of Cockrell's dogs attacked 91-year-old Edward Gierlach in his driveway and pounced on 56-year-old Cheryl Harper, who was walking or jogging nearby. The attacks happened last September near Cockrell's home, about 45 miles west of Detroit.

Cockrell had a horse farm on the property, and authorities said the wooden fencing surrounding it was not adequate to keep dogs from escaping. Authorities euthanized her 10 dogs.

Cockrell will report to prison Jan. 2. Defense attorney Daniel Blank did not return a call seeking comment.