Michigan man gets triple the recommended prison sentence after he brutally tortured and stabbed his adopted dog
A Michigan man has been sentenced to prison after he fatally stabbed a dog he had adopted.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith announced in a news release that Alex Gerth, 23, was sentenced to three to six years in prison after he entered a no contest plea last month to killing/torturing the animal. While sentencing guidelines pertaining to the case advised two to 21 months in prison, Smith requested the judge for a harsher punishment due to the brutal nature of Gerth's crime, People reports.
Sterling, a medium-sized mixed breed canine, was two years old when he was found with multiple stab wounds in a Utica park on January 24. His body was found underneath a picnic table by a public works employee, who said there was a trail of blood from a nearby waste receptacle to where he died.
According to Smith, Sterling had been "maliciously tortured" left in freezing temperatures by his master.
“The inhumane treatment of Sterling by this defendant is unconscionable,” Smith said in a news release back in January. “My office is fully committed to prosecuting this case at the fullest extent under the law. No animal deserves to have his life ended this way.”
Gerth was originally barred from adopting Sterling due to his living situation. However, he was highly determined to adopt the dog, and so he went on to convince a friend to adopt the dog for him.
The 23-year-old, who eventually moved Sterling into his apartment in December, later admitted to authorities that he would regularly hit and punch the dog in order to "discipline" him.
Upon learning the heartbreaking news, Sterling's supporters started an online petition calling for Gerth to receive the harshest sentencing. Quite a few of his supporters also attended Gerth's trial, according to the Detroit Free Press.
That said, Smith thanked sympathizers in a statement to the community.
“We commend the sentence that clearly demonstrates — crimes of this nature will never be tolerated!” Smith said. “I want to extend my appreciation to the Utica Police, Animal Control, the Humane Society, my staff and all of the animal welfare activists that have contacted us and played a critical role in seeking justice for Sterling.”
“Sterling has brought great awareness to such a critical issue that troubles us as a society," he added. "As County Prosecutor, my office will continue shining a light on the need to bring all parties together to ensure no animal is abused or neglected.”