Robert Lee Brian of Sacramento, Calif., faces 16 years in prison for torturing and killing dogs after neighbors testified to the sickening abuse the man inflicted on his pets.
Brian, who has a long criminal history, was convicted by a jury Friday of felony animal cruelty, according to Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Hilary Bagley-Franzoia. During the week-long trial, Brian testified that he had chronically abused his pit bull terrier. Brian hurt and mistreated the animal, punching, hitting, and choking it, as well as denying it food and water.
The lawyer said the dog, called Bubba, is alive but lost vision in its right eye.
Authorities seized Bubba last year, finding the dog suffering from a fractured skull and snout and possible chemical burns on its face, as well as the damage to its eye. They also found the remains of three more dogs in Brian’s backyard.
Trial witnesses described seeing Brian hang the dog from a “choke chain” from a porch swing, hearing dogs wailing in pain, and seeing the defendant “smash” his pets around his home.
Bagley-Franzoia, who says she is committed to prosecuting animal cruelty cases as part of her work for the county attorney’s homicide unit, described Bubba as “a sweet, big, goofy” pit.
“What this guy did to this dog was absolutely horrendous,” she told the Sacramento Bee. “This, to me, was torture. It was continuous abuse.”
Brian’s conviction was a victory to Bagley-Franzoia, who said that both lawyers and the public share responsibility when it comes to protecting those who can’t protect themselves.
“I’m not the lone ranger anymore,” she said. “More and more attorneys are very interested in cruelty cases, because the public is enraged by it and they want us to do something about it. People need to do the right thing if they suspect abuse, and we need agencies to respond.”
Brian was also convicted of assaulting and threatening a neighbor.