The Greensburg, Pennsylvania man who strangled his recently adopted pet to death because the dog wouldn’t stop barking pleaded guilty to animal cruelty on Thursday in Westmoreland County, reports the TribLiveNews.
Jason E. French, 33, faces the maximum sentence of two years in prison. He told the judge he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, however is doing better in prison where he was sent shortly after admitting to killing the young Labrador retriever last November because the dog barked.
“It’s not a win for Apollo, because he’s not with us anymore, but in the case of animal cruelty and what the law allows, yes, this was a big win for us today,” stated Candy Nelson, the president of Animal Friends of Westmoreland, the organization who allowed French to adopt the dog.
In November, Irwin Police were called to Jason French’s First Street home after a witness reported seeing the man kicking what appeared to be a black object and then digging a hole to bury it. When authorities arrived, they found the dead black Labrador retriever, Apollo; French admitted to strangling the dog because “he wouldn’t stop barking.” French was reported to have shown no remorse for having killing the 30 pound dog he had only adopted a few months earlier from Animal Friends of Westmoreland, telling authorities it took him three hours to kill the dog.
According to WtaeNews, the rescue organization had checked French’s references and had done an extensive background check on the family before approving the adoption:
“Everything checked out on this individual. Unfortunately, because the priors were summaries, they didn’t show up on a background check. With the HIPAA laws, we aren’t able to see anything regarding mental health. We do due diligence on our part, but unfortunately, this is still what happened,” stated Candy Nelson.
Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio has ordered French to undergo a mental health evaluation before sentencing to determine the level of care he will need once released. Meanwhile thee shelter will do everything they can to ensure French never adopts another dog, however with no national registry for animal abusers, that will be a difficult task. For now French remains at the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bond; he has been incarcerated since December 10. No date was set for sentencing. Rest in peace Apollo.
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