What's the price of a canine life? About 45 days and $100 each, according to the sentence handed down by Evans Town Justice Timothy J. Cooper Monday night.
That's the penalty Cooper gave Robert Rydzewski, who had pleaded guilty to two counts of torturing or injuring animals. Rydzewski had admitted killing a dog with an ax on May 25 and shooting another dog in the face twice on March 28.
The latter dog survived.
Rydzewski was given a total of 90 days in jail -- to be served consecutively, not concurrently -- along with a list of conditions that include a mental health evaluation, anger management counseling and random testing for drug and alcohol use.
Cooper could have given Rydzewski up to a year in jail on the two misdemeanor counts. Instead, he said he preferred giving a lesser sentence and then having the ability to impose conditions during probation.
"A maximum sentence would prevent me from monitoring your future conduct," Cooper told Rydzewski.
"We have to impress on you that the conduct you engaged in was unacceptable . . . The level of violence you demonstrated is frightening."
Rydzewski was accused of striking neighbor Patricia Bangel's Welch Corgi mixed-breed in the neck with an ax after it ventured into a fenced-in area on his property, killing the dog.
He also shot neighbor Sheryl Andreozzi's dog in the face with a rifle twice.
Rydzewski's lawyer, Andrew Radack, attempted to place some of the blame on the neighbors' inability to keep their dogs on their own properties, accusing the dogs of killing his client's rabbits.
After the sentencing, though, Andreozzi said that while Rydzewski had made those accusations they hadn't stood up in court. The rabbits weren't penned, they said.
Andreozzi and Bangel were glad Rydzewski got jail time, but wanted a longer sentence.
"It's gonna take a long time for all of us to heal over this," said Bangel. "My son's gonna be real upset."
"I'll be paying that vet bill for the next three years," said Andreozzi. "He'll be in and out of jail before I'm done paying off my dog's bill."