A Crescent City pair accepted plea deals Friday just before they were set to go to trial in an animal cruelty case that has caught significant attention.
Zachary Hinton, 21, pleaded no contest to a felony for maliciously and intentionally maiming a puppy, and Sarah Anderson, 21, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor version of the same crime in Del Norte Superior Court on Friday morning.
The charges stem from a 2012 incident in which a pit bull was slammed on the ground several times at the pair’s apartment in Totem Villa Apartments, on the 1000 block of U.S. Highway 101.
The dog was eventually handed over to the Humane Society.
Within three days of the incident, Anderson took the dog to a Brookings veterinarian for a diagnosis, but when she couldn’t afford the treatment, she brought the dog back home, said her attorney, Dale Trigg.
Anderson took the dog to the local Humane Society six days after the vet visit, Trigg said.
“The evidence was not ever clear as to exactly when the legs were broken,” said Trigg. “Everybody thinks the dog sat out there for months and that’s just not accurate.”
Anderson was sentenced Friday, receiving three years of probation. She cannot possess an animal during that time.
“It’s a decision she had to make,” said Trigg.
“When you have this sort of mob mentality on a case like this the consequences are too dire” to take the case to trial, where Anderson faced the possibility of three years in Jail, Trigg said.
He was referring to an outpouring of support for the dog, who eventually had his legs amputated after being transported to a rescue center in Washington state.
The rescue center has since created a huge fan base for the dog, which it named London, by utilizing social media and a web site. It used that fanfare to turn London into a poster child for animal abuse and pit bull awareness.
Hinton will be sentenced Nov. 7, he faces the possibility of six months in jail and three years probation, and would not be able to possess animals during that time.
“We’re happy we have a resolution,” said deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla. “Justice for London has finally been achieved.”