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.