Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Sherburne County Courthouse in Elk River on Wednesday, calling for harsh punishment for a man who videotaped himself smiling as he tortured and killed his girlfriend’s dog.
Anthony Sather, 25, accompanied by a new attorney, put in only a brief appearance in court, where the judge scheduled his next hearing for March 5. As he was led out of the courtroom, one of the onlookers in the crowded room rose to his feet.
“Sather, you bottom-feeder,” he called out. “There’s a special place in hell for you.”
Outside, protesters echoed the sentiment, less disruptively. Charmaine Schodde of Corcoran identified the man who had called out to Sather as her husband, Dave Schodde.
Draco was a Shiba Inu/husky mix that Sather recorded himself beating, kicking, slamming into a concrete floor and finally shooting at the Princeton home he shared with his girlfriend, Andrea Godfrey, the dog’s owner. Godfrey, 21, stumbled across videos of the bloody attack on Sather’s computer.
Sather has been jailed on charges that he violated his probation since his arrest in early January. He faces a felony count of mistreating an animal and felony and misdemeanor drug charges.
Emily Randolph founded a Facebook page called Justice for Draco and launched an online petition calling for him to receive the maximum punishment allowed by state law. To date, her online petition has more than 88,000 signatures.
“The fact that it was videotaped, I think, really made a difference,” said Randolph, surrounded by protesters holding “Justice for Draco” signs Wednesday afternoon. “There’s not any doubt about what he did.”
In the end, the protests lasted far longer than Sather’s court appearance.
“It’s frustrating. We’ve been out here for two hours,” said Rita Buechele, who traveled from Brooklyn Park only to learn that Sather’s day in court had been rescheduled for March. But, she said, “we need to show our support and get justice for Draco.”