An Omaha man was sentenced to prison Wednesday for kicking a Chihuahua so hard that it had to be put to sleep.
Anthony I. Stevens, 28, pleaded no contest to intentional animal cruelty, a felony, in Douglas County District Court. He was given 20 months to five years.
District Judge Kimberly Pankonin also ordered Stevens not to own any animals for 15 years.
Mark Langan of the Nebraska Humane Society applauded the judge’s sentence.
“The dog died a horrible death,” Langan said outside the courtroom. “He kicked this poor dog off a retaining wall into the street, injuring it so badly it had to be euthanized.”
Omaha police were called to a house near Miller Park about 9 p.m. July 31 on the report of domestic dispute. Officers found the severely injured dog in the street.
The dog, named Honey, appeared to have spinal injuries and internal bleeding, Langan said. The pet was owned by a woman who was not injured in the incident.
Langan said felony animal abuse charges are filed only about two or three times a year -- typically in cases in which an animal has been tortured, repeatedly beaten, mutilated or abandoned.
Animals are easy targets in domestic disputes, Langan said.
The Humane Society offers help to women who may be afraid to leave abusive relationships out of fear for the pets that would be left behind. Project PetSafe provides free shelter to pets while women get the help they need from social agencies, he said.