LOCKPORT – Five years’ probation was the sentence Thursday for a man who slammed his grandmother’s dog to the floor, fracturing its pelvis, after the dog killed a kitten belonging to the man’s house cat.
Jason E. Evrard, 28, of Nash Road, Wheatfield, had pleaded guilty to a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. said he changed his mind on a sentence for Evrard. When he pleaded guilty Sept. 18, Kloch had promised him a one-year stint in Niagara County Jail.
Evrard, who already has been in jail for 176 days, or just shy of six months, was let out because on probation he will have to stay out of trouble for five years. If he doesn’t, Kloch can send him to state prison for as long as four years.
“People think probation is a slap on the wrist. It’s worse than if I sentenced you to straight time,” Kloch said, and Evrard agreed.
Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell said Evrard’s grandmother had told her that she thought Evrard had been in jail long enough.
Kloch told the defendant, “You served 176 days and you deserved every one of them, and you deserve more.”
The incident occurred May 10, after the 8-year-old Lhasa Apso had gotten into a room where Evrard’s cat and its kittens were living, and the dog killed one of the 2-week-old kittens. The door had been inadvertently left open.
Kloch asked Evrard, “You think the dog said in his little dog brain, ‘I’m going to commit murder, caticide?’ It was just doing what a dog does.”
Kloch then regaled the court with a story of how his own cat recently killed “a little baby bunny rabbit.”
“Animals are animals, and we’re supposed to have higher brain power,” Kloch told Evrard. “So why did you act like an animal?”
“I wasn’t thinking,” the defendant answered.
“What is to assure me you’re not going to do that to one of your children?” Kloch asked the father of two.
Evrard, whose criminal record includes an assault arrest stemming from alleged attacks on two women in a brawl Sept. 5, 2011, said he had taken an anger management course in jail.
Kloch made further anger management treatment a condition of Evrard’s probation.