SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A man who pleaded guilty to fatally beating a dog during a dispute over medical marijuana was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Johnae Hoyt, 33, approached his former neighbor Robert Burke in March 2010 and asked Burke to share his medical marijuana and “smoke him out,” Burke said.

Burke refused, and Hoyt grabbed a stick off Burke’s front porch and started swinging, forcing the victim to retreat inside his Oak Park home.

While Burke called 911, Hoyt turned his anger to the Chihuahua that was leashed in the home’s front yard.

Hoyt severely beat Harley in the home’s front yard, breaking the small dog’s spine.

“I picked him up and I called his name,” Burke said. “I know he was in so much pain.”

A veterinarian put Harley to sleep due to the severity of his injuries. Burke couldn’t afford to bury him.

Harley had taken refuge on Burke’s front porch several months prior to the incident, and he had taken it in as a pet. “I loved him, he was a good dog,” Burke said.

Hoyt, a parolee with a history of violent crime convictions, was arrested and charged with animal abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats. Midway through his trial, Hoyt agreed to a deal and entered a guilty plea in exchange for a sentence of 8 years.

The sentence is of little consolation to Burke, who said the slain dog was like family to him.

“I wish it [the sentence] were longer, because if he were doing to do that to a little tiny Chihuahua, imagine what he’s going to do to your child, what is he going to do to you?” he said.

Comments (15)
  1. pat says:

    well at least the punishment approximates the crime! I think the jerk should have gotten 10 years and have to serve every single day of it.

  2. Dennis McBride says:

    I am not sure but how is this equitable, when a transit officer gets two years for killing a human, and a regular person gets eight years. The system works.

    1. Rusty says:

      The victim here is an innocent dog; the victim there is a despicable criminal. Here the act was intentional; there it was an accident no matter what you think. Get it now?

  3. man... says:

    Howcome EVERY time I read a news story, it says “the suspect, a parolee with a history of violent crime convictions…”

    KEEP THEM IN JAIL!!!!!!!! If the dam judicial system would just KEEP them locked up then they wouldn’t have the CHANCE to commit more crimes or harm people, or animals for this matter. But if Burke had not ran inside his house, Hoyt probably would have beat HIM with the stick. KEEP ALL VIOLENT OFFENDERS IN JAIL!!!!!
    We’re tired of these “PAROLEES” aka low-life criminals being let out into the streets. THEY ARE IN JAIL FOR A REASON!!

    1. TLK says:

      They don’t have room in jail for these guys because the idiots still fill the cells with low level drug and marijuana offenders.When the anti cannabis decriminalization dummies wake up,this may change.

  4. Big D says:

    Transit officer got manslaughter…sentance fits. The victims actions led to the officers actions. Not like the cop just up and shot him out of nowhere. This dog was a innocent victim. Not to mention the other crimes listed and the fact he was a parolee. The transit officer had never as so much as had a bill go to collections.

  5. Anthony Cathey says:

    He had multiple Felony charges against him – a plea deal gave him 8 years. It’s not 8 years for just killing the dog.,JOHNAE,,2641249

  6. Tom says:

    For one to heck with 8 years let they dog owner beat him with a stick break his back and leave him there to die on his own in his own self pitty thats the correct sentence . And let see the truth McBride that cop shot as PUNK who was in the system the punk brought all on himself if he would of been a good person it never would of happened . And we all know if the cop was black and the boy was white the NAACP and ACLU never would of got involved nor the media it would not of been OH! that poor boy story.GET A LIFE

  7. Capt Andy says:

    If it were up to me, I would break this guys back with a 2×4. Prison is to good for him!!

  8. slippedhalo says:

    I am with you Capt. Andy!! Let me have a whack at him too.

  9. jed says:

    I am also with you Captain Andy!!! Captain Andy for President!!!!!!!!

  10. Sean says:

    Tom, seriously, you make a great point, but your grammar is so bad, it took me a while to figure out what that point was. But I agree. The NAACP used to be a great organisation when blacks weren’t getting the rights they deserved, but now… When a black person goes to jail, it doesn’t seem to matter to them whether or not he’s guilty. As for the dog guy, we get murderers who plea for less than that. I wonder how many years he would have gotten if he hadn’t made a deal.

  11. kevin says:

    Terribly sad this guy lost his little buddy. He seems like a good guy and I’m sure his dog was a great friend.

  12. TLK says:

    It seems in this media conditioned society that the life of an animal means more than a human life does.

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