A 23-year-old Lawrence man was found guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty Tuesday in a bench trial in Douglas County District Court.
Byron Anthony Snowton was arrested Oct. 24 after animal control officers found a dog tied by its hind legs and unable to stand in a yard outside an apartment building in the 800 block of Michigan Street. The dog’s legs were bound with plastic ties used as handcuffs by military police, which Snowton said he possessed because of his service in the Kansas National Guard. Animal control officers took the dog to a local veterinarian and then to the Lawrence Humane Society.
Jennifer Stone, the staff veterinarian for the Human Society, testified Tuesday that the dog had suffered pain, swelling, and minor abrasions from the bindings but no permanent damage. The dog is currently in good health and in the custody of the Humane Society, she said.
Snowton testified that he left the dog temporarily to seek medical treatment after the dog bit him, leaving a wound that required 12 stitches on one finger. He said he first took the dog outside to calm it and bound its legs to prevent it from biting others while he was at the hospital. Later that evening, police arrested Snowton at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone said Snowton was guilty because he had knowingly injured the dog by his actions, even if there was not malicious intent. A hearing on Thursday will decide sentencing and the future custody of the dog.
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