Judge gives dog killer 2 years in prison, says he’s a danger to community

The man who admitted in March to killing two dogs and maiming a third needs to seek help for anger i

The man who admitted in March to killing two dogs and maiming a third needs to seek help for anger issues, a judge told him this morning.

Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago this morning sentenced Thomas Hendricks to the maximum allowed for aggravated animal cruelty, two years in state prison.

In doing so, Drago told Hendricks that it appeared that he had no remorse for his crimes. That, and evident “serious anger issues,” concerned the judge, she said.

“You are not only a danger to the four-legged animals, you are a danger to other individuals in the community,” Drago told Hendricks. “If you need assistance with your anger, you need to seek that help, period.”

Hendricks himself remained mostly quiet in court, except when Drago allowed him to respond to her assertions.

Hendricks contended he had tried, but he said he didn’t know where to go.

“Maybe I do have problems, I don’t know,” Hendricks said. “Why can’t you prescribe help for me?”

Drago listed several programs he could seek when he got out.

Hendricks, 28, pleaded guilty in March to three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, felonies.

Hendricks admitted to drowning and choking one dog to death, beating another to death with a pool cue and scalding another severely.

The attacks on the dogs were all the result of Hendricks‘ actions in response to arguments with his wife, police said. The actions were also aimed at instilling fear in his wife, officials said.

Hendricks admitted to the acts at his plea in March, but later denied harming any animals in a routine pre-sentence interview with the probation department.

The denials prompted Drago to require Hendricks to reaffirm the March plea and say the statements to the probation department were untrue, for the sentencing to go forward.

The surviving dog, Carmella, an 8-month-old toy poodle, has since been adopted out to a new owner and renamed Angel.

Prosecutor Jessica Lorusso said in court that Angel is doing well, but retains a fear of water and a fear of men.

Lorusso also noted the pre-sentence investigation, showing “his absolute lack of remorse, blame shifting and lack of empathy.”

The sentencing was attended by several animal activists, including Animal Protective Foundation spokeswoman Marguerite Pearson.

Pearson commended Drago later for seeing that Hendricks has real issues with anger.

“I’m really glad that she recognized that he’s a danger to society and that it wasn’t just an isolated case,” Pearson said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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