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In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 38-year-old Steven Saxe was sentenced on Monday to up to 57 months for threatening his wife with a gun and shooting her dogs in a drunken daze last year. Saxe pleaded guilty last month to charges including aggravated assault, possession of a firearm without a license, and recklessly endangerment.
The incident occurred between Saxe and his wife, Noelle Saxe, and members of her family during an argument. Saxe struck his wife’s car with his truck and pointed a gun at her, saying, “[*****], get out of the way. He was arrested without incident the next day.
When Noelle Saxe returned to her home after Saxe’s arrest, she found blood on the sidewalk and discovered the dogs, Lucky, a hound mix, and Elmo, a Shih Tzu, their charred bodies tossed in a fire pit.
Luzerne County Judge Joseph Sklarosky, Jr. called the death of the dogs “senseless cruelty.”
Saxe’s sentence was twofold: he got 15 to 30 months for the assault charges and 2 consecutive 6 to 12 months for animal cruelty. He’s also required to serve 3 years probation once his 27- to 54-month sentence is over. The judge ordered Saxe to go through anger management and prohibited the man from owning pets.
Luzerne County SPCA Humane Officer Wayne Harvey said, “Judges are starting to see animal cruelty for what it really is. Hopefully people see that and will see the light and think twice about what they’re doing.” Harvey said he was glad to see Saxe held accountable for his actions and cited recent cases of animal abuse with stiff sentences.
These cases include Cody Anderson, sentenced to 11 to 23 months for breaking the necks of two pit bulls in May 2015, and Michael Craige, who got 2 ½ to 6 years for throwing a box containing ferrets into the Susquehanna River in July 2015.
Saxe said, “I know I can’t bring the dogs back. Seeing my wife’s face is more than enough punishment for what happened.” Joseph G. Price, Saxe’s attorney in the animal cruelty case, claimed Saxe loved the dogs and took good care of them “for many years” and regretted killing them. “He didn’t torture them, he didn’t maim them or anything… He loved them.”
Harvey said if Saxe loved the dogs, he would have shot them to death. Price added that alcohol played a significant part in the incident.
Animal cruelty is now a felony in all 50 states, thus the consecutive sentences for the death of the dogs. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, animal cruelty is a crime against society and they will collect information about animal cruelty and the suspects involved. In this case, Saxe was guilty of “Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause. (Dogtime.com)”
Saxe did not comment as he was led from the courtroom.