Jul 21, 2005, 6:28 PM
Post #1 of 3
Two men tied a stray Siberian husky shot arrows until it died
2 October 2004
The News Tribune
Two men who tied a stray Siberian husky dog to a tree and repeatedly shot arrows into it until it died will serve eight months in Pierce County Jail.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Thomas Felnagle on Friday also ordered Troy Loney and Steven Paulson to undergo eight to 10 weeks of special mental health treatment for animal abusers.
Then the two men must serve 240 hours of community service at the Humane Society of Tacoma & Pierce County, the judge said.
Paulson, 21, of Wilkeson, and Loney, 19, of Tacoma, each must pay a $1,000 civil penalty and a $500 crime victim fee as well as other court costs. They will receive credit for time already served in jail for this case: Loney has served 81 days so far and Paulson, 50.
Parts of the sentence worried Humane Society officials. They expressed concern about two people convicted of felony animal cruelty, who both have disturbing criminal records, working at any animal shelter.
"We want to help with the treatment portion," Humane Society spokesman Tom Sayre said after the sentencing.
But, he added, the Humane Society might not be able to comply with the community service order because of the men's criminal convictions. The shelter has young volunteers and would have to provide constant supervision for the men, he said.
Some observers concerned about animal rights, who helped pack the courtroom Friday, said Paulson and Loney got off lightly. Felnagle said he could have sentenced both to 12 months in jail under state law.
"Why didn't he give them a year?" said Susan Michaels of Pasado's Safe Haven animal protection group in Snohomish County. "I don't think 10 weeks of any psychological treatment is going to do them any good."
Loney stood before the court, shackled at the ankles and in gray jail-issue clothing, and said he was sorry.
"I deeply regret the whole situation," he told the judge. "I made some very poor choices. I apologize to all I impacted. I assure you I will not repeat my mistakes."
Paulson remained silent. His mother, who was in the courtroom, also declined to comment afterward or give her name. But Philip Bolland, Paulson's attorney, read excerpts from a letter Paulson's mother wrote to the judge.
"Steve is young enough and good enough at heart to turn his life around," Bolland read from the letter.
Felnagle found both men guilty of felony animal cruelty on Sept. 2, after a trial that got national attention. Prosecutors and an eyewitness said the defendants took a stray Siberian husky for a walk near Wilkeson Elementary School on March 8.
They tied it to a tree and shot it at least nine times with a dull-pointed target arrow and a hunting bow. They reused the same arrow at least twice after pulling it from the dog's body.
Bolland and Loney's attorney, James Schoenberger, asked the judge Friday to limit the sentence to time served and to waive additional fines because both men are unemployed.
Schoenberger requested community service for Loney. Bolland asked for mental health counseling for his client. But Felnagle handed down a tougher sentence, calling the situation "a case of torture, of cruelty."
"It's hard to know what leads people to behave in this fashion," he said.
Loney has convictions for a crime while a juvenile and for failure to register as a sex offender, as well as for first-degree animal cruelty. Paulson has been convicted of second-degree burglary twice as well as forgery and first-degree animal cruelty.
Bob Walter, who works on Humane Society programs to treat animal abusers, addressed the killers Friday in lieu of a traditional victim statement.
There is no known victim's family.
"The next you're around an animal ... look into his eyes," Walter said, "and ask him to help you understand what compassion means."
(This post was edited by chrisong on Jul 21, 2005, 6:32 PM)