WILKES-BARRE — A Hazleton man convicted of strangling a dog to death was sentenced to jail on Friday.
But not as long a prosecutor had hoped.
Luzerne County Judge Fred Pierantoni III sentenced Gino Anthony Saullo Sr., 55, to six to 12 months at the county correctional facility on a first-degree misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals.
Pierantoni convicted Saullo of the charge after a non-jury trial on June 17.
Assistant District Attorney Mamie Phillips had asked Saullo be sentenced to nine to 18 months behind bars.
State police at Hazleton found a dead pit bull-mixed named Pumpkin with a choke collar and a leash tied to a dumpster in the area of 1365 Harwood Road in Hazle Township on March 2, 2013.
The owner of the dog, Shawn Saullo, told state police his uncle, Gino Saullo, had taken the dog for a walk.
Gino Saullo said he walked the dog with a 4-foot leash when the dog jumped into a yard that was four feet below street level and bordered by a concrete retaining wall.
Gino told state police, “I was pulling for 20 minutes on the chain trying to get the dog up out of the yard. I saw the (expletive) eyes popping out. The dog looked crazy like he wanted to attack me,” according to the criminal complaint.
Gino said he abandoned the dog when the canine stopped moving.
Phillips said during the sentencing hearing that Gino Saullo “choked a helpless dog to death” in her request for a nine- to 18-month jail sentence.
Gino Saullo apologized, telling the judge, “I can’t really sleep.”
Pierantoni ordered Gino Saullo to perform 30 hours of community service and not to have any unsupervised contact with animals.