The owner of a dog who was starved and shot dead was sentenced to five months in jail plus 30 days community service Thursday.
A Thurston County jury last month found Robert Leatherman, 54, guilty of first-degree animal cruelty and bail jumping after he missed a pretrial hearing. The verdict came three years after his dog, Wolfy, was found dead near Bucoda.
According to court documents, authorities began investigating in October 2014 after photos of the emaciated dog began circulating on Facebook.
Leatherman told investigators the dog was in a “horrible condition” and he asked a friend to put it down. That friend, Jeffrey Gavin, 47, told investigators he shot Wolfy three times in the back of the head.
The dog’s body was found in a hole wrapped in a sleeping bag. A veterinarian who examined the dog determined it did not die immediately after it was shot. The veterinarian also determined that it suffered from chronic disease, neglect, starvation and had a severe maggot infestation.
At his sentencing, Leatherman told the judge he loved the dog; his lawyer contended Leatherman didn’t know how to properly care for the animal.
“There was pain and suffering, significant pain and suffering, for a long time,” Judge Carol Murphy said. “It is simply not OK, and the fact that Mr. Leatherman loved his dog does not take away from that.”
Murphy ordered that Leatherman not own or possess any animals or live with anyone who does for five years.
On his way out of the courtroom, Leatherman was briefly confronted by members of an animal rights group who attended the sentencing.
Gavin pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree animal cruelty before the trial started. He was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days community service.