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Dog torturers sentenced to judicial diversion

Dog torturers sentenced to judicial diversion
Two Weakley County men were sentenced to judicial diversion this morning in an animal cruelty case involving the alleged torture of a puppy.
Preston Odle, 18, of Dresden and Levi Evans, 19, of Greenfield received their sentences during a hearing in Weakley County Circuit Court.
They had entered guilty pleas Sept. 10 when they appeared for arraignment on a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, which stemmed from a May incident in which Dresden police discovered a puppy had allegedly been tortured to death.
This morning, Circuit Judge William B. Acree Jr. sentenced them to two years of judicial diversion and ordered each to do 200 hours of community service. In addition, they are to undergo evaluations and treatment, if necessary, and are subject to drug testing.
The offense was a range one Class E felony which carried a maximum sentence of two years, authorities said.
Attorneys for the young men told the court this morning that their clients are having difficulty getting hired anywhere because of the case.
The sentencing earlier today was attended by about 30 members of the group Justice for Puppy Doe. Afterward, they released purple balloons outside the Weakley County Courthouse in Dresden.
The animal activists have also been present at previous court proceedings in Dresden in an effort to raise awareness about animal abuse.
Odle and Evans had been indicted Sept. 4 by a Weakley County grand jury on the single charge of aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with the puppy’s death about four months earlier.
The Dresden Police Department was contacted about 7:45 p.m. May 15 when a young man and his father went to pick up a dog that reportedly was foaming at the mouth and limping, according to an affidavit.
Dresden Police Chief Randal Walker reported a St. Bernard puppy which was about four months old apparently had been given to Odle, who claimed he didn’t want the dog and offered the puppy to a friend. When the friend came back with his father to pick up the animal, they noticed the dog was foaming at the mouth, limping and had a cut on its back.
Walker reported Odle and Evans allegedly admitted to assaulting the puppy. He said the dog had been kicked and suffered broken ribs.
The teens were also accused of wiring the puppy’s mouth shut and wrapping its neck in wire and hanging the animal. Additionally, the dog had sustained a knife wound in the back, police reported.
The puppy died a few hours later as a result of injuries. Published in The Messenger 11.8.12