FORT WORTH, Texas - An 11-year-old boy was sentenced to probation for beating his neighbor's dog to death.
The child pleaded guilty in juvenile court last month to charges of delinquent conduct, animal cruelty-torture and using a deadly weapon to kill Cookie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix.
In addition to 18 months of probation, he will have to perform 30 hours of community service and undergo counseling. He will also not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with animals while on probation.
The judge took into account a psychological evaluation that found he has a low risk of repeating the offense.
Owner Jennifer Knittel said she believes the boy let Cookie out of her backyard in May and then for some reason beat him with a stick. The dog had a fractured skull and severed spine, among other injuries.
"My thing is he stuck with the lie. He said Cookie lunged at him and he hit Cookie in mid-air. Cookie couldn't jump," Knittel said.
The boy, who lives a few streets away, told police he was attacked by the dog. He apologized to Knittel in court Monday, but seemed to show little emotion while he read his letter.
Knittel said she is satisfied with the punishment because it includes counseling, but is still disappointed. She said she feels the boy still has not taken full responsibility for what happened.