A man who fatally beat his girlfriend's three dogs in their College-area home last year was sentenced Friday to five years, four months in state prison.
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Patrick Caleb Land, 25, had pleaded guilty to multiple animal abuse charges.
"These crimes were committed with callous violence and a serious punishment is warranted," Judge Charles Rogers said.
The maximum sentence was eight years but the judge took into account that Land was born to a drug-using mother and beaten in his youth by an adoptive mother.
The owner of the dogs, Natasha Strain, said at a hearing earlier this month that she still cries when she thinks about what happened to her pets.
Deputy District Attorney Garrett Randall said Land called Strain on Sept. 20, 2010, telling her that he had come home to find Josh, her 8-year-old Golden Retriever mix, dead. No necropsy was performed on that dog, the prosecutor said.
Three weeks later, on Oct. 14, Land again called his girlfriend to tell her that he had found her dogs Jackie, a 9-year-old white Shepard mix, and Pikanik, a 50-pound mixed breed, dead in a bedroom. This time, the woman ordered necropsies on the dogs. A veterinarian determined the animals were beaten to death, Randall said.
Those dogs had massive internal injuries and bled to death, the prosecutor said. He said there was evidence that there were attempts to suffocate the animals and restrain them with something over their heads to prevent them from biting and barking.
At a preliminary hearing last May, Jenna Rushie, the couple's former roommate, testified that Land's girlfriend cared for the dogs and Land sometimes complained that she spent more time with them than she did with him.
Dr. Monica Clare, a veterinarian, testified at the same hearing that Jackie and Pikanik were each hit a number of times and would have had to be restrained to continue taking a beating.
The defendant's DNA was found under one of the dogs' nails, Randall said.
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