CHARLESTON, S.C. – An incredulous judge sentenced a man to three years in prison for tossing a 10-week-old puppy off an apartment balcony during an argument with his girlfriend.
The Yorkiepoo, a cross between a Yorkshire terrier and a poodle, was in a soft-sided container but suffered head injuries and had to be put to death.
Javon Patrick Morris, 22, apologized for throwing the puppy off the third-floor balcony last March and pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.
"You mean he threw a helpless animal off three floors because he was mad at someone?" Circuit Judge Edward Cottingham asked a prosecutor before issuing the sentence Thursday.
The judge, who has owned nine dogs, said he was obligated to issue a tough sentence.
"There is nobody in this world that can understand that," Cottingham said.
He sentenced Morris to five years, suspended to three years in prison and two years of probation. Morris, who will be eligible for parole in 20 months, also was ordered to get anger management counseling.
"I've got to send a message to all dog lovers that we are going to protect that interest in our courtrooms," Cottingham said.