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Man pleads guilty to abusing stolen puppy

Last Modified: Thursday, April 03, 2014 9:17 PM

By Johnathan Manning

A Lake Charles man was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to abusing a dog he had stolen.

Tyler Scott Sanders, 21, pleaded guilty as charged to aggravated cruelty to animals and theft of animals over $500. Judge Clayton Davis sentenced him to 10 years, with five years suspended. Davis also sentenced him to a $5,000 fine and five years’ probation. Sanders will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

Sanders reportedly stole Halo, a pit bull puppy, from the backyard of a residence on Arkansas Street on Aug. 16 and abused the animal during the time it was in his possession — until Nov. 21, when a mail carrier found the animal.

“I think it’s a fair resolution because it holds the defendant accountable, there’s a significant punishment factor and there’s significant time over his head where he’ll be monitored,” prosecutor Christy Rhoades May said. “It sends a clear message to the community that the DA’s office takes these crimes very seriously and the judges at the 14th JDC take them seriously as well.”

The dog suffered permanent damage to its sight and mobility, May said, and will eventually need to have its right front leg amputated.

The dog is doing “really well,” said Renee Smith, of Lake Charles Pit Bull Rescue, although he has begun taking nerve pills in preparation for the amputation.

“I am pleased with the outcome because I think it makes a statement that people can’t get away with animal cruelty,” Smith said.

She said she plans for the dog, which is now in her care, to become a therapy dog.

After the dog was stolen, Halo’s original owners posted “missing” signs, even giving one to Sanders, who threw it away, “proving he knew who the rightful owners were and chose not to give the animal back,” May said while telling Davis the facts of the case.

Witnesses said Sanders repeatedly abused the animal and shot it three times in the head with a pellet gun, May said. Three pellets remain in the dog’s head, she said. The dog had broken bones and showed signs of blunt-force trauma to its face and head.

When he is released from prison, Sanders must pay full restitution for all Halo’s medical bills, have no contact with dogs, have no contact with witnesses and perform community service.

The court also dealt with charges Sanders accumulated in four other incidents. Sanders pleaded guilty to DWI and marijuana possession, although prosecutors dropped charges from the other two dockets — reckless operation and unlawful purchase or public possession of alcohol.

Sanders received the DWI after he was found to have a 0.10 blood-alcohol level on March 3, 2012, May said. He was stopped by state police after he was seen accelerating and spinning out of control, she said.

On Jan. 28, 2012, he was arrested for marijuana possession at the mall, May said. Lake Charles police found the marijuana as they searched him for shoplifting a lighter.

After May read the facts on all Sanders’ charges, Davis asked him if he admitted to them.

“Yes, sir,” he replied.

Defense attorney Ralph Williams said he did not wish to comment.

Posted By: Michael bay On: 8/7/2016

Title: It hurts

I have a puppy who looks exactly like the abused one shown above it hurts my heart to see a pitbull being abused I hate the man and he should be getting life sentence for harming a defenseless animal, a puppy is almost the equivalent of a human baby. That man needs to kill himself

Posted By: Cherie Post On: 6/10/2014

Title: The Innocent Ones~

This man is disturbed. Most serial killers start with killing animals to seek a "thrill". After a while this progresses to a bigger "thrill". Then they begin to torture and murder innocent people. Why do we let this happen so often? The legal system lets us down. Giving this man 10 years with an automatic dismissal of half is just Five years! Then he is a Seasoned criminal, with a Grudge. It doesn't take a rocket scientist how this all plays out. Who will protect the innocent ones?

Posted By: Cherie Post On: 6/9/2014

Title: The defenceless Ones~

This piece of human garbage is disturbed. He needs Electrical Shock Treatment, or possibly a Lobotomy~

Posted By: jbdean On: 6/3/2014

Title: YAY for serious jail time!

Not what I'd like to see. I'd prefer he do the full 15 years but this is still a HUGE improvement over the uncountable cases where the criminals got off with a warning. And 85% of a 5 year sentence is 1,803 days or 4.93.9 years. Might as well consider it 5 years.

Posted By: sharron On: 5/31/2014

Title: Halo

Its ridiculous they are letting this scum bag out early. These creeps are stealing dogs and bashing them and baiting them for dog fights. This little pup and other pups and dogs are so loyal, loving compassion and have no control over getting out of the human cruel hands. Most countries do nothing to help the animals, there not serious enough and sooo many thousands of people have said animals are loved more than people. People are cruel. He was sopposed to be in jail for 10yrs but down to 5yrs WHAT THE HELL? he will only go out and do it again and again. PROTECT THE ANIMALS FOR A CHANGE FOR GOD SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted By: Dona On: 4/18/2014

Title: Man pleads guilty to abusing stolen puppy

God Bless prosecutor Christy Rhoades May & Judge Clayton Davis! Good to see some meaningful JUSTICE FINALLY BEING SERVED! LONG OVERDUE for DA's & judges throughout the country to STOP LOLLY CODDLING these psychopathic savages and hold them harshly accountable for their heinous brutality towards defenseless victims.

Posted By: Michelle Webber On: 4/3/2014

Title: arent these red flags!

The intentional violence (not just abuse) against this puppy is disturbing enough but throw in an obvious neglect of the law in general and this should be throwing up red flags clear across the board. Isn't harming animals a precursor to homicidal tendencies. Maybe this is just another case we have to wait for him to actually kill or seriously injure someone before something more substantial is induced upon him.

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