(CN) – A criminal appeals court in Tennessee upheld the 11-month jail sentence of a man who was convicted of animal cruelty for shooting a “gigantic hole” through the leg of a neighbor’s black Lab.
The neighbor, Melissa Nichols, claimed that Alex Stewart shot her dog, Lady, in the left rear leg, striking a main artery. Nichols said the dog was “bleeding to death,” and it took 40 gauze bandages and two rolls of paper towels to slow the bleeding enough to take Lady to the vet. After blood transfusions and surgeries, it took the dog two weeks to recover, though it never fully recovered, according to Nichols.
Stewart allegedly shot Lady as she was running from his property to her owner’s.
Stewart claimed he shot Lady because she was fighting with his pit bull, Angel. He said he didn’t mean to kill her, just scare her.
Judge Ogle noted that Stewart had a history of misdemeanor convictions for drug possession, escape, failure to appear, speeding, driving on a revoked license, underage drinking, driver’s license violations and failure to yield. He was also convicted of burglary in 2006, and violated probation at least three times.
The trial court considered his criminal history in sentencing him to the maximum 11 months and 29 days in jail and ordering him to pay Nichols $687 in restitution.
During sentencing, the trial judge noted Stewart’s apparent lack of remorse: “[Y]ou talked about this dog and laughed and thought it was funny when the dog would see you it would run. And the jury picked up on that, as well as everyone else in the courtroom. You thought that was funny.”
The appeals court said the sentence was proper and denied Stewart’s request for probation.