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Shoot a Dog, Spend Time Behind Bars Regretting It

Written by PETA | August 9, 2010
Michael McLeod

When Michael McLeod pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his Norfolk, Virginia, neighbor’s dog, Rex, because he was annoyed at the dog’s barking, he may not have thought he’d get a long prison sentence for cruelty to animals. But he was facing Circuit Court Judge Karen J. Burrell, a self-described “judge who has compassion for animals.” She handed down the maximum sentence: 11 years for felony cruelty to animals, discharging a firearm in a public place, and failing to appear in court (McLeod dodged his original sentencing hearing in 2003 and was on the lam for seven years). McLeod will serve five years behind bars, with six years suspended. If he violates the terms of his probation after being released, he could serve that extra time too.

“When judges hand down sentences like this, they deter people from being cruel to animals,” PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch told a reporter. They also deter people from being cruel to people, as there is a known link between cruelty to animals and violent crimes against humans.

If you know any people who leave their dogs or cats outside unattended, please share Rex’s story with them. It only takes a few minutes for animals to become victims of people with short fuses and long rifle barrels.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Stephanie says:

    I hope he rots in prison. I am thrilled that the judge gave him the maximum sentence I have never seen a maximum sentence for animal cruelty in my life. However I don’t think 5 years is nearly enough. Five years for murder. When does Rex get to come out of his sentence? Never.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    My friend’s beloved Rottweiler who was gentle and sweet and had never so much as growled at anyone in her life was shot and killed by a Santa Ana California police officer who had entered the wrong yard while looking for a suspect who was next door. My friend’s son who was a witness said the dog who was accustomed to other people and dogs coming in the yard my friend is a professional dog trainer never made a move twoard the officer he simply shot her the shot did not kill the dog immediately but wounded her so that her family had to race her to the vet bleeding and screaming all the way. She died on the way to the office. The officer had been given the address of the house where the suspect was but either misread the address on the front of the house or did not bother to check. He received no diciplinary action. What should he have received for firing a weapon in a yard where there were young children shooting their beloved dog right in front of them and not being able to correctly read numbers clealy posted on the front of a house in the first place?

  • Lauren Holt says:

    God Bless America! In Britain if you kill someone you’ll get about 5 years… and be released within 3. Our justice system is awful. If he had done that here God forbid he’d have probably got a 500 fine nothing more. This is why I want to live in America!

  • Kaitlyn Krepps says:

    How could you shoot a dog for barking!?! All dogs do that. It’s even worse that the dog wasn’t his. Not only the dog suffered but it’s owner are now suffering and probably will for a long time!

  • bell says:

    i just cant believe someone would shot a dog for annoying them. if a lil kid or someone else annoys you shooting them will not solve the proble. animals still feel pain n suffer as much a human does. im glad he got what he deserved and i hope more judges throw the book at people like this maybe animal violence will decrease.

  • Aneliese says:

    I don’t understand how this man gets five years behind bars whereas Michael Vick got none. I just don’t understand.

  • maureen says:

    Horray!!!! Yippeeeeee!!!!! It is about time an animal winsalthough he had to give his life doing so. People that are cruel need to find out the meaning of CRUELTY. Guess McLeod now realizes Rex’s bite was worse than his bark. When will people learn. I am sorry to hear Rex was shot and killed but not in vain Lil Fella there was a VICTORY that came from it.I wish Rex’s family wellknowing there is a place for people like McLeod God Bless your family

  • Karen Saucedo says:

    Warmest Thanks to Judge Burrell for her sentence of Michael McLeod. She’s shown intelligence compassion and responsibility in her role as a judge and as a human being. I have the utmost respect for her actions.

  • Heather says:

    This is the first time I have heard of an animal cruelty case where the individual received a maximum sentence! The judge is a hero to animals. If more people shared her compassion maybe idiots like McLeod would think twice before shooting someone’s pet. However I don’t agree with the owner keeping their dog outside. If they truly cared for their pet they would take them in the house and not leave them vulnerable as a target for sickos to abuse.