By Scott North Herald Writer
EVERETT — An Arlington man who killed his dog and suggested he planned the same fate for a former girlfriend who loved the animal was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail.
Norman Sandretzky, 41, wept as he asked for understanding from Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Appel. The defendant said his actions March 29 were the result of personal problems he’s sought help to address.
“I hope you can see that I’m not a bad person,” he said.
The judge not only ordered Sandretzky behind bars, but also told the defendant he is barred from keeping animals for up to five years.
“This crime was cruel, savage and cowardly,” Appel said.
Prosecutors said Sandretzky called his girlfriend in March and told her that he had killed Bucky, a pit bull. He also said the woman was next, according to court papers.
A veterinarian later examined the dog’s body and reported the animal had skull fractures and several round holes in his body. A hammer and drill were found near the dog.
Sandretzky in June pleaded guilty to first-degree animal cruelty and attempted telephone harassment.
As part of the agreement, lawyers on both sides of the case said they’d recommend a 90-day jail sentence.
The death was investigated in part by animal-rights advocates. Their involvement both helped and hampered the case, the judge was told.
Deputy prosecutor Paul Stern said it was unlikely Bucky’s death would have been treated as a crime had the advocates not brought evidence of the killing to the attention of authorities. Those who sought justice for the dog were helpful, engaged and respectful, he said.
At the same time, Stern said, the case was complicated by the advocates’ decision to exhume the dog’s body and present it to a veterinarian for a necropsy.
“That creates problems with presenting evidence in court,” Stern said.
Had the case gone to trial, Sandretzky’s attorney “would have had an awful lot of arrows in his quiver” to challenge admission of evidence against his client, Stern said. It was a factor the prosecutor said he had to weigh when considering how best to handle the case.
Sandretzky had a clean record and under the law faced a maximum possible sentence of a year in jail.
On Thursday, more than a dozen people were in the courtroom wearing T-shirts from Pasado’s Safe Haven, an animal-welfare charity from Monroe.
Kim Koon, who described herself as the group’s animal cruelty investigator, asked the judge to send a strong message in sentencing Sandretzky. She also asked that the defendant be barred from keeping animals.
Appel agreed with the latter recommendation, but said Sandretzky can petition in two years to again keep pets.
Scott North: 425-339-3431, firstname.lastname@example.org