Man gets maximum sentence for attacking neighbor’s dog

The man behind a brutal attack on a Golden Retriever has been given the maximum sentence for his heinous crime.

Kona and friends after the dog recovered from an attack by an enraged neighbor. (Photo credit: Sam Hokanson)

Orting, Wash., resident Ricky Lee Knowles, 55, will spend the next six months of his life behind bars for bludgeoning his neighbor’s dog, Kona, with a weapon.

Police report that, on March 20, Knowles used dog treats to lure 3-year-old Kona from the dog’s backyard. In a rage, Knowles threw Kona into his garage, then used wire to bind the defenseless dog to a pole. Wielding a hatchet, Knowles then proceeded to attack the animal.

When neighbors heard the sounds of a dog screaming and yelping, they called police. Authorities discovered Kona, still tied to the pole, bleeding heavily but still alive. Police had to cut and pry the wire from where it had embedded itself in Kona’s neck before they could rush him to the veterinarian for emergency care.

Luckily, Kona survived, but the injuries he sustained were severe. A broken jaw was among the dog’s many injuries.

“If this had been a human being it would have amounted to torture,” said Prosecutor Dione Hauger before Knowles’ sentence was handed down.

The Washington Post reports the prosecution had originally asked that Knowles serve a year-long sentence, but had to settle for six months prison time followed by as many months of electronic monitoring via an ankle device that Knowles will be required to wear at all times. He will also have to cover Kona’s veterinary bills, which total $5,000.

“[The sentence] was based on the brutality of the crime,” Hauger said. “It was based on the thought and premeditation that went into it. And it was based on the fact that this was a fairly vulnerable victim.”

Knowles, who pleaded guilty in July to first-degree animal cruelty, denies that he planned to gravely injure Kona, that he “just snapped.”

“I had no premeditation. I just couldn’t take the noise any longer,” Knowles said during Monday’s sentencing hearing. “He was barking and I just snapped. I can’t explain it.”

Knowles went on to explain the stress he was experiencing in his life at the time had definitely contributed to what happened.

“I just want to tell Kona and his family, I’m really sorry,” Knowles added.

Sam Hokanson, Kona’s owner, is pleased the man who attacked and nearly killed Kona will be punished for what he did.

“I wish it could have been more,” Hokanson said of Knowles’ jail time, “but to see the guy in handcuffs and taken to jail, that was elating.”

Hokanson tells Komo News that, miraculously Kona is feeling much better.

“He’s got his hair back. He’s energetic. It’s as if nothing ever happened,” Kona’s relieved owner said.