Ithaca, N.Y. — A Newfield man was sentenced to 120 days in jail Thursday afternoon for shooting his dog in the head twice in September.
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Jeffrey M. Wood, 39, of Meadowbrook Lane, was taken away in handcuffs after pleading with the judge to spare him time behind bars.
Judge Joe Cassidy, however, said that Wood had behaved recklessly with his firearm. The judge did reject Tompkins County Assistant District Attorney Eliza Filipowski’s request to sentence Wood to two years in jail.
Judge Cassidy also sentenced Wood to five years of probation and 200 hours of community service. Wood pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony.
“I think the community is best served by you being supervised,” Cassidy said. Cassidy also noted that with a good record, Wood could be released from incarceration in 80 days.
On Sept. 19, Wood shot a 2-year-old German shepherd mix named Lillie and left her to die.
The dog was rescued by Wood’s neighbor, Ken Colburn, who donated Lillie to Wood in the first place. Further rescue efforts by the SPCA and Cornell vets managed to save Lillie’s life, but she is blind and remains injured, according to the assistant district attorney.
Wood later pleaded guilty to the crime. Dressed in a black suit in Tompkins County Court on Thursday, he said the crime was a terrible mistake.
“It wasn’t me. It’s not who I am,” Wood said. “This will not define me as a man. I know who I am, and I am better than this.”
In announcing his ruling, Judge Cassidy said that Wood was prompt to court, showed remorse and admitted his guilt. “I do give you credit for that,” Cassidy said.
The judge also noted that Wood was a veteran who was honorably discharged and had completed a substance abuse program. He added that while Wood “made a number of terrible decisions that evening,” it doesn’t appear that it was Wood’s intention to torture the animal.
Wood’s attorney Paul Barton said that his client was a “tax-paying, law abiding citizen … aside from this.”
“Mr. Wood has accepted responsibility from the very first day,” Barton said.
Wood and his attorney both pointed to alcohol abuse as the reason for the crime and said that controlling this addiction would prevent him from committing further crime.
“My life has been turned upside down by this more than anyone in this room can imagine … I just want my life back,” Wood said.
“You will never see me in this court room again.”
But Filipowski, the assistant district attorney, stressed that Lillie “underwent a lot of pain” and that “her life if forever changed.”
“The dog was a puppy, not even 2-years-old,” Filipowski said.
“He’s an adult charged with the care of an animal and he just decides he’s going to shoot her. … He had many opportunities to avoid that.”
“(Lillie) was shot twice and left for dead … because he couldn’t even be bothered to move the animal.”