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Man who starved dog avoids jail time
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A man who allowed a dog to starve to death in his backyard will avoid jail time as he was granted a judicial diversion on animal cruelty charges.
The defendant, Justin Looper was granted the 11-month, 29-day judicial diversion by Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley who noted Looper will not be allowed to own any animals during his probationary period. Looper’s record will be erased provided he completes his probationary sentence without any other trouble.
His sentence comes after a pit bull was found starved to death still attached to its chain near Looper’s home.
Looper admitted he was caring for the dog but maintained he ran out of money to feed the dog and that the dog actually belonged to his former roommate, Joey Vinson. However, Vinson maintained he did not know about the condition of the dog and would not have allowed it to starve had he known his friend was not caring for it.
Vinson had his charges dismissed in sessions court and grand jurors decided not to indict him as the dog’s owner despite comments by General Sessions Judge Larry Ross that both men should be held responsible for the inhumane treatment of the dog. There were also allegations the dog had puppies that were allowed to run around the neighborhood freely while their mother starved on her chain.
Judge Ross turned down Looper’s request for a judicial diversion prompting the defendant to back out of his plea agreement and take the case before Judge Stanley. His plea in circuit court is nearly identical to the one turned down in general sessions court.