De’Monte Ty’Juan Douglas, 18, pleaded guilty to felony ill treatment of an animal. He had been charged by Rock Hill police after the injured puppy, six weeks old at the time, was found Feb. 21 by a worker at the Wildwood Springs apartment complex.
“He (Douglas) emptied the entire clip of the gun into the dog,” prosecutor Megan Fuller told Judge Dan Hall.
Other than admitting he was guilty, Douglas said nothing in court. At the time of arrest in February, Douglas tried to blame a younger teen for the shooting, but the younger teen who was prosecuted as a juvenile told officers it was “Douglas’ idea to kill the puppy because it was diseased,” Fuller said.
Douglas did the shooting while the other child whose name has not been released stabbed the dog, Fuller said.
The puppy, later named Brody by Ebenezer Animal Hospital employees who saved it, had 18 BBs in its muscle and skin that could not be removed and had to work their way out of the dog’s body over time, prosecutors said.
The dog was later adopted, Fuller said, but only survived because it was so young and its nervous system was not fully developed.
Douglas, who left Rock Hill High School after the arrest and is now pursuing a General Equivalency Diploma, agreed to a youthful offender guilty plea, which carries up to five years in prison. Fuller, asked that Douglas receive some active prison time.
“Because of the seriousness of the crime, that would show that York County takes animal abuse very seriously,” Fuller said.
Devon Nielson, Douglas’ court-appointed public defender, said Douglas did not need to go to prison because he had no prior record and “made a mistake.”
Hall, who described what happened as “torturing the animal,” asked if there were any other indications that the abuse of the dog was accompanied by other anti-social behaviors. Both prosecutors and Nielson said Douglas had exhibited no other anti-social or anti-animal behaviors.
Hall suspended three years of youthful offender prison time, saying probation is appropriate despite the seriousness of anyone “willfully abusing and torturing an animal,” because animal abuse does not rise above cases where there are human victims.