A 29-year-old Pennsylvania man will head to prison for one to two years and will also serve three years of probation after pleading guilty to getting high on meth and killing his dog for a bizarre reason.
Joseph W. Elliott, of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, also reportedly stole a car in a separate incident, notes WHTM. He pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, receiving stolen property and false identification.
He has been ordered to pay $265 restitution in addition to serving time.
When police arrived at Elliott's apartment in April, they found his dog lying dead in the bathroom. Elliott was standing naked in a doorway and told them that he had taken the drug and then strangled his dog because it put "a hex on him," said police.
When asked to identify himself, he reportedly gave officers the name of the person who owned the car he stole days before.
"I was really shocked," neighbor Mandi Balmer, a self-proclaimed dog lover, told WHTM. "Elizabethtown is a really small town, and unfortunately we're not safe from crime and abuse and drugs any longer."
Investigators found that Elliott's deceased dog had bruises on its body as well as eight cuts from a sharp object, notes WTFX.
"The way he was gagged and the multiple lacerations that were on him from stab wounds, and then just the bruising and contusions that he has and the blunt-force trauma, it was definitely a horrendous time for this dog during his death," Humane Officer Jen Nields of the Lancaster County Animal Coalition told WHTM.
She said it was the worst animal abuse case she had ever seen.
Had Elliott committed the crime later, he could have been charged with a third-degree felony in light of Libre's Law, which went into effect at the end of August and toughened up penalties for those found guilty of animal abuse, according to Lancaster Online.
"This won't stop cruelty but it will put an emphasis on the importance of justice for [animal] suffering," Nields said at the time, noting that there is a strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence, reports Lancaster Online. "The laws are recognition of their pain and what they deserve."
Pet Pantry of Lancaster County Medical Director Bryan Langlois said that the state "was woefully behind the times" when it came to punishing severe animal abuse before Libre's Law.
"There were a lot of times we wanted to pursue serious charges against an individual but the law did not allow us to do this," he explained. "The new law now finally sends the message that animal abusers will not just get away with a slap on the wrist and minimal fine."