Glynn Johnson also is placed on three years’ probation, required to do 400 hours of community service working with dogs and must take anger-management classes.
A former Los Angeles County assistant fire chief was sentenced to three years’ probation Friday on animal cruelty charges for beating a puppy with a 12-pound rock, injuring it so severely that it had to be euthanized.
Glynn Johnson, 55, of Riverside also was required to do 400 hours of community service working with dogs, take anger-management classes and serve 90 weekend days in jail.
He could have been given four years in prison, and the sentence was immediately denounced by those hoping for more jail time as a “slap on the wrist.”
Before the sentencing, Johnson’s family and friends begged Riverside County Superior Court Judge J. Thompson Hanks for leniency. They said Johnson had saved people and animals as a firefighter and had been an exemplary father and husband. His friend Jerry Austin, who identified himself as a former Anaheim fire chief, said the trial “dehumanized” Johnson and “humanized” a dog.
“That is unfortunate,” he said.
Johnson apologized to neighbors Jeff and Shelley Toole and their son, Brandon, for the death of Karley, their 6-month-old Shepherd mix.
“I don’t hate animals. I have horses, cats, chickens and I would never destroy an animal for no reason,” he said. “My involvement here was me trying to help.”
That’s not how the jury saw it in a case that swiftly became a national rallying cry against animal abuse.
Prosecutors said Johnson had an ongoing vendetta against the Tooles over their animals and noise issues in their Woodcrest neighborhood. He was accused of putting dog excrement in their mailbox, shooting their former dog and a neighbor’s dog with a pellet gun and videotaping their children playing in the driveway.
On Nov. 3, 2008, Travis Staggs, a friend of the family, was taking Karley for a walk. As he approached the Toole home, Johnson appeared and volunteered to take her the rest of the way.
Eyewitnesses said Johnson had walked barely 100 feet when he started punching the puppy. Then he pulled her jaws apart and bludgeoned her at least 12 times in the head with a rock.
Karley’s nasal cavity was crushed, her skull was cracked in three places, her ear canal collapsed and she lost an eye in the assault. She was later euthanized.
Johnson went to the hospital seeking treatment for a bite he said came from Karley. He told investigators that he was simply defending himself against the dog.
The Toole family spoke in court Friday, asking that Johnson be given jail time and psychiatric help.