A Jamestown man who pleaded guilty to killing his family's dog by hanging it in a tree was sentenced Monday to a year in jail, the Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office said.
County Judge David W. Foley sentenced Robert J. Overton Jr., 48, who previously pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals, prosecutors said. Overton was arrested in April 2018 after police found a pit bull hanging by its collar in a tree in a partly wooded section of the city.
The dog had been hanging there for several months before it was discovered.
The details of the crime disturbed many in the community, which responded strongly when police disclosed what happened.
Police found the dog's remains on April 2, 2018. After going public with details the next day and receiving more than 100 tips from the community and via social media, police interviewed Overton on April 4 and he turned himself in the next day.
Investigators believed the dog was killed by hanging in late November or early December 2017 in a vacant, partially wooded lot near Hallock Street in Overton's old neighborhood on Jamestown's west side.
District Attorney Patrick Swanson said Overton will be the first person placed on the Chautauqua County's animal abuser registry.
Overton faced a maximum sentence of two years for the felony conviction.
"This case reminds us of the deficiencies in New York State law," Swanson said in a news release. "Many people believe that this level of punishment is insufficient. What I say to those folks is that they need to contact their state representatives and push for change. The actions of this man were dreadful. But two years was the maximum potential punishment under our law."
In an interview with WNYNewsNow after his interview with police and before his arrest, Overton said he killed the dog to protect his children, because it had become aggressive and had bitten humans three times.