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5 days in jail for starving dog to death too lenient

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48 year old Muskegon resident, Gerald Ambuen Dyke, pleaded guilty Wednesday, March 12, to animal cruelty involving the starving death of his 2 year old dog, Max, when he left the animal behind in a vacated home.

Dyke, who lived in a home in the 900 block of East Dale Avenue in Muskegon, pleaded guilty to one count of abandonment and cruelty of an animal, a 93-day misdemeanor, said Muskegon County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat.

Muskegon County 60th District Judge Andrew Wierengo III sentenced Dyke to five days in the Muskegon County Jail where he remained Thursday, March 13.

Maat said the photos of the dog, Max, who was half Jack Russell Terrier and half pit bull, show a severely malnourished animal with his leash wound around his frail body.

Dyke left the dog chained up in the home with no food or water when he moved out, according to the police report.

The dog, discovered in the home back in December 2013, weighed just 16 pounds at that time – half the normal weight for that breed of dog, Maat said.

Police arrived to the home and found 6 inches of snow built up around the steps and it appeared no one had been there for a while, Maat said.

Authorities learned that Dyke had moved out three weeks before the December 28 complaint was filed.

The deceased dog was located under the stairway of the home, Maat said.

The dog's leash was wrapped around his leg and wound all the way up to his shoulder, which resulted in a laceration along the dog’s body as well, Maat said.

A report from the veterinarian who examined Max’s body told authorities that the dog likely died from severe dehydration and starvation and should have weighed about 35 pounds, not 16, at that age.

There were no plea or sentence negotiations between the prosecutor's office and Dyke. He pleaded guilty as charged.

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