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Orting man sentenced to six months jail time for torturing golden retriever
On Sept. 17, 55-year-old Ricky Knowles was sentenced to six months in jail for beating a neighbor’s dog with a hatchet after luring the animal with dog treats and trying to strangle it with wire. The defendant pleaded guilty to Animal Cruelty in the First Degree in July. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dione Hauger argued for the maximum sentence of 12 months, citing the brutality of the crime as justification.
“Animal cruelty is a sad and particularly offensive crime,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said. “We vigorously prosecute these crimes just as we do other violent crimes. While we recommended a longer sentence than was imposed, the important thing is that Mr. Knowles has been held accountable for his crime. ”
On March 20, Orting Police were dispatched to the defendant’s address after a neighbor called 911 and reported seeing the defendant beating another neighbor’s dog with what was believed to be a hatchet. Officers surrounded the defendant’s residence and called for him to come outside. Eventually the defendant exited the garage. Inside the garage, officers found a golden retriever tied to a pole, bleeding from severe wounds to his head and neck. Animal control officers had to cut a piece of wire from around the dog’s neck. They contacted Sam Hokanson, the dog’s owner and the defendant’s next door neighbor, who rushed the dog, Kona, to a veterinary clinic.
In a search of the defendant’s garage, officers found several items with blood on them, including a pair of pants, cardboard, a piece of wire with dog hair on it, gloves, a garbage can, and a hammer. Blood spatter was visible on a shed and fire pit. Dog treats were also found; the defendant does not own a dog. Hokanson said Knowles had complained before about Kona's barking, but he said they'd spoken about it and come to an agreement. It is unclear what set off the defendant on the day of the crime.
When Kona arrived at the veterinary clinic, his eyes were so swollen he couldn’t open them and he could walk only a few steps at a time. X-rays showed multiple fractures on his head and in his sinus cavity. To date, treatment costs for Kona’s injuries total almost $5,000. Hokanson and his family have since relocated out of state.
The defendant will serve six months on electronic home monitoring following his release from jail. He was also ordered to pay nearly $5,000 in restitution and is prohibited from owning or residing with any animals.