A judge needs to OK the precedent-setting deal for a St. Paul man who pleaded guilty to snapping the necks of 10 puppies.
A St. Paul man charged with snapping the necks of 10 puppies last summer could become the first Minnesotan ever banned from pet ownership for life.
Kimanie Carter, 20, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of mistreating animals. Under a plea agreement, Carter will face up to 12 months in jail, will undergo behavior counseling and be prohibited from owning a companion animal for life. District Judge William Leary III still has to agree to the terms of the plea deal at sentencing March 1.
The puppy killings caused widespread outrage last summer and received national media attention. Rewards were offered by national animal-rights groups and the Ramsey County attorney's office received letters urging vigorous prosecution and harsh punishment.
Minnesota is one of 11 states with laws that allow judges to "limit the person's further possession or custody of pet or companion animals."
Lifetime bans have been ordered in Virginia, Maine and New York state, but this would be a Minnesota first, according to Dan Paden, a researcher with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in Norfolk, Va. He said a similar ban was handed down this month in Rochester, N.Y., where a man threw a dog from a second-story window.
"Decades of research by mental health and law enforcement professionals show cruelty to animals is not an isolated incident and reflects a deeper disturbance," Paden said.
Police say Carter killed the 2-week-old pit-bull mixes and threw them in a trash bin either because they weren't purebreds or as a way to threaten his girlfriend. Witnesses said he threatened to do the same thing to his girlfriend if she didn't give him a ride.
Carter is in the Lino Lakes prison on an unrelated probation violation for shooting someone with a BB gun.
"In my 20 years, I've never seen the state law used to ban someone for life from owning a pet," said Keith Streff, the investigative director with of the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley. "This is the perfect match for this kind of sentence because it was so egregious, it was done with malicious forethought and the intent was to terrorize his audience."
State sentencing guidelines carry a suggested probationary sentence with the possibility of 12 months in jail. The law allowing judges to ban pet ownership doesn't mention lifetime bans.
"By not specifying a time, one interpretation that has been used in other states is that it's open to a lifetime prohibition," Paden said.