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Wash. man who tried to kill dog with sledgehammer receives 14-day jail sentence

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On Tuesday, March 18, The Daily News reported that a Washington man who tried to kill his dog with a sledgehammer received a 14-day jail sentence.

Longview, Wash. resident Chad Scott Miller, 40, tried to kill his two-year-old pit bull with a sledgehammer after the dog bit him in October 2012. Miller had struck the dog, named Nero, for eating some doughnuts.

Miller was in Cowlitz County Superior Court on Tuesday and apologized for his actions. He was living on food stamps and disability payments at the time and felt that he needed to euthanize his pit bull to protect the children in his neighborhood and his grandmother.

During his sentencing, Miller stated: “I didn’t want to hurt him. I loved him. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t really miss him.”

Miller's pit bull survived the brutal attack, sustaining three hairline fractures to his skull. After months in foster care, Nero is currently at the Humane Society. According to animal control officials, Nero is waiting to find a loving family.

While prosecutors recommended a one-month jail sentence, Miller received a 14-day jail sentence and was ordered to pay approximately $5,000 in fines for animal cruelty in the second degree. Miller is also prohibited from having pets for two years.

Animal cruelty charges were filed one year after the incident, as Miller initially mislead investigators and stated that he had killed and disposed of his pit bull. Shortly afterward, an injured pit bull was found and taken to the Longview Humane Society. Miller then confessed that this was his dog.

Washington State has strong animal cruelty laws. RCW 16.52.207: Animal cruelty in the second degree:

(1) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.

(2) An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:

(a) Fails to provide the animal with necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure;

(b) Under circumstances not amounting to animal cruelty in the second degree under (c) of this subsection, abandons the animal; or

(c) Abandons the animal and (i) as a result of being abandoned, the animal suffers bodily harm; or (ii) abandoning the animal creates an imminent and substantial risk that the animal will suffer substantial bodily harm.

(3) Animal cruelty in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.

(4) In any prosecution of animal cruelty in the second degree under subsection (1) or (2)(a) of this section, it shall be an affirmative defense, if established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant's failure was due to economic distress beyond the defendant's control.

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