Montgomery man sentenced for 2014 beating of 10-week-old puppy
Michael Harper (Source: Montgomery County Jail)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
Nearly a year after a puppy named "Tank" was beaten unconscious by his owner, the man responsible is being sentenced to prison. Montgomery resident Michael Andrew Harper was ordered by Judge Eugene Reese Tuesday to spend 2 years behind bars.
Harper was arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty and faced municipal charges for failure to appear.
As part of his sentence Judge Reese also ordered Harper to pay restitution of more than $2,000.
Tank recovered from his injuries at a Montgomery veterinarian's office and has since been adopted.
A neighbor reportedly witnessed the abuse and notified authorities Thursday night, and they responded to a home in the 2000 block of Cherry Street, not far from Ann Street and Highland Avenue.
Montgomery humane officials said at the time the puppy made a mistake inside the house, sparking a sudden burst of rage from Harper.
"The neighbor said they witnessed their neighbor throw this dog outside the back door, at which time the dog hit the dog house. Then, they came outside and they said the neighbor started hitting the dog and kicking the dog until it was unconscious," said Montgomery Humane Officer Robert Bryant.
Officers responded to the scene and found the 10-week-old mixed breed puppy motionless. The puppy was taken to Carmichael Road Animal Clinic where Dr. Neil Westbrook and staff members treated his injuries.
"He had a broken leg, severe tongue laceration. He was comatose. He had apparently been hit in the head, thrown against a wall. We treated him for shock and pain and cleaned up his wounds. We have a splint on his leg and have sutured his tongue," Westbrook said not long after the incident.
"From what I understand the puppy was thrown, kicked, punched. It suffered broken bones, broken teeth and there was concern about internal damage to his organs. The dog is doing OK and we're hopeful but it's a tragedy. To beat something as defenseless as a puppy, I just don't have the words to express my disgust," said Steven Tears, executive director of the Montgomery Humane Society.
Tank quickly showed signs of improvement.
"He's still a friendly, happy little dog despite his previous treatment so we're very happy with his progress so far," Westbrook added.
"It breaks our heart but it's why we're here. It's what we do. We're just grateful that the Montgomery Police Department was on the scene and they were able to apprehend the gentlemen and our deputies were able to sign the warrant and we're hoping for a conviction," Tears said back in June.