A Battle Creek man convicted last month of animal abuse was sentenced Friday to nearly four years in prison.
David Hursley, 55, was sentenced to a minimum of three years and ten months to a maximum of 15 years with the Michigan Department of Corrections when he appeared before Calhoun County Circuit Judge Sarah Lincoln.
Hursley was found guilty by a jury in September of a felony of torturing a dog and a misdemeanor of cruelty to animals.
He was charged after Battle Creek police said he hit a dog named Obi with a baseball bat and shot it with a pellet gun on Feb. 9 at his home on Bennett Street.
Hursley said he struck and shot the dog because it was attacking another man.
Assistant Calhoun County Prosecutor Dana Porter, mixing her words with those from letters from the community, told the judge “the defendant’s behavior was unacceptable. He needs to understand that his actions are wrong and his actions weren’t legal.”
Porter said the case should be a example to others that “that this behavior won’t be tolerated and those who commit such abuse should be held accountable.
“He is a ruthless predator and habitual criminal with a violent past and the heinous way this crime was carried out is very disturbing. The amount of force outweighs what the dog did.”
Hursley told the jury in September he was sitting on a couch with a friend when the dog began to attack and bit the other man in the hand. He used the bat and the pellet gun and then dragged the injured dog to the back porch. Battle Creek police eventually shot the dog, killing it because of the extent of its injuries.
Hursley told the judge, “no one wanted this to happen. I knew that dog for 19 months. It happened quick. Everyone thinks it happened over a long period of time but it happened in seconds. I am sorry I have a history and I do have a lot of demons and skeletons in my closet but none of them portray torture or heinous crimes like that. That is not my M.O.”
His attorney, J. Thomas Schaeffer, told the judge the case has been about emotion rather than the law.
“The law is that a person may kill a dog if it attacks another person,” Schaeffer argued. “That is what my client did.
“The emotion that has gone through to the jury from the prosecutor’s office, to the gaggle of people who came numerous times and who put animals lives above human lives and even the probation office has become emotional because you are talking about a dog. This is a property crime. This dog is a piece of property and not a human being.”
But Lincoln, who presided over the trial, said what Hursley did is “not appropriate behavior in this society” and “the facts don’t support that this was done in support of your friend. The dog only bit your friend because you were angry because it was begging.”
Lincoln also cited Hursley’s long criminal history including assault, domestic violence and drunken driving.
“You have a pattern of violent behavior and substance abuse,” the judge said.
[Source Story: HumansLovingAnimals ]