Nick Patterson, 30, of Alex City, Alabama, was sentenced to 99 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated animal cruelty charges.
Patterson starved and neglected purebred Collies on his grandparents’ property, leading to his arrest.
A plea deal was struck on Wednesday between Patterson and the prosecution, where he pleaded guilty not only to nine counts of animal abuse, but also three counts of financial transaction card fraud, reports Alex City Outlook.
Assistant District Attorney Damon Lewis, who negotiated the plea deal, hopes this will “send a message” to local residents.
“If you hurt a child or hurt an animal in Tallapoosa County, you are going to prison,” Lewis said. “It’s that simple. This has been an emotional case and one that involved some of the worst animal abuse I have ever seen.”
Police discovered 14 living, but malnourished, dogs in outdoor enclosures where Patterson lived last June. The dogs only had dirty rain water to drink and it was found that they were only fed sporadically, and had been neglected for months. Police also found the remains of six other Collies on the property.
To try and flee from police, Patterson went on the run. It is then that he reportedly fraudulently used credit cards and stolen checks in order to keep going. Patterson eventually turned himself in to authorities in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on July 24.
Patterson was sentenced to 10 years on each of the nine animal abuse counts, and three years on each fraud charge. All sentences will run concurrently.
He may be eligible for parole after he serves a minimum of 18 years, per WSFA.
Patterson is not allowed to ever own an animal again.
WSFA reports that Patterson showed no emotion when the sentence was handed down.