Animal rights activists yelled "puppy killer" and obscenities at a retired Los Angeles County assistant fire chief Friday after he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for beating a dog so severely with a rock it had to be euthanized.
In a Riverside courtroom full of activists and a handful of supporters, a judge also required that Glynn Johnson, 55, perform 400 hours of community service working with dogs, take anger management courses and pay the veterinary bills.
Johnson, of Hillcrest, was convicted in January of animal cruelty using a deadly weapon — a 12-pound rock — for the 2008 attack in which he repeatedly bashed the head of a 6-month-old German-shepherd mix named Karley. The dog had to be put to sleep because of the injuries.
Johnson claimed he was freeing himself after the puppy clamped its mouth on his hand as he walked her home to his neighbor. Witnesses disputed that and said Johnson attacked the dog without reason.
Johnson apologized to the owners but also said he would appeal the sentence.
The dog's owners, Jeff and Shelley Toole, said in court that Johnson had ruined their lives and should get the maximum sentence of more than four years in prison.
"If (Karley) did this to you, her punishment would be death," Jeff Toole said. "And if I were a judge that would be the punishment for you too, but I'm not a judge. You're a danger society and you need to be locked up before you hurt someone else."
Prosecutors had asked for probation or a year in jail.
Judge J. Thompson Hanks said he considered Johnson's lack of criminal record and service as a firefighter in the lighter sentence.
"You don't see this kind of outpouring from the community in many cases, including the death of children," Hanks said. "As a judge, I have to balance. I have to consider the conduct of the individual who did it and the appropriate punishment."
Information from: The Press-Enterprise, —http://www.pe.com