Wash. man who beat dog with hatchet sentenced to jail

TACOMA, Wash. -- An Orting man who attacked and nearly killed his neighbor's dog using a hatchet was sentenced Monday to six months in jail.

Ricky Lee Knowles, 55, will also be placed on electronic home monitoring for six months after he serves his jail sentence.

According to police, Knowles went into his neighbor's yard on March 20 and used doggie treats to lure Kona, a golden retriever, into his own yard and then repeatedly hit the dog with a hatchet.

Neighbors heard the dog's yelping, and when officers arrived they found the golden retriever tied to a pole, bleeding from severe wounds to his head and neck, prosecutors said.

"If this had been a human being it would have amounted to torture," prosecutor Dione Hauger said during Monday's sentencing.

Kona is seen in March after the attack.

The dog had a crushed skull, broken jaw and blood-filled eyes. Despite the severe injuries the dog survived.

Knowles admitted the attack, telling the judge Monday he was sorry for what he'd done.

"I just want to tell Kona and his family, I'm really sorry," Knowles said.

He added he was suffering from stress in his life and just snapped.

"I had no premeditation. I just couldn't take the noise any longer," he said. "He was barking and I just snapped. I can't explain it."

Knowles pleaded guilty in July to first-degree animal cruelty but asked for no jail time. The judge declined and gave him the six month sentence, much to the relief of Kona's owner.

"I wish it could have been more, but to see the guy in handcuffs and taken to jail, that was elating," said Sam Hokanson.

As for Kona, he came through just fine.

"He's got his hair back. He's energetic. It's as if nothing ever happened," Hokanson said. "But we can't hide that."

Shortly after the attack, Kona's family moved out of the neighborhood. No risk for anything else to happen.

In addition to the six month sentence, Knowles was also ordered to pay Kona's $5,000 vet bill.