Puppy Doe Case: Teens sentenced to community service
DRESDEN, TN- Outside the Weakley County Courthouse 25 people gathered early Thursday morning. They wore buttons with the picture of a 4-month-old St. Bernard puppy and t-shirts emblazoned with his image.
They carried signs reading, 'There is no excuse for animal abuse.' The group 'Justice For Puppy Doe' was hoping the 'justice' they had spent 6 months fighting for was just minutes away.
It was the day Preston Odle, 18, and Levi Evans, 19, would be sentenced. In September, the pair plead guilty to animal abuse charges. They admitted they had beaten and stabbed the stray dog to death.
Inside the courtroom, their lawyers did not make excuses.
Lane Unger, representing Preston Odle told the judge, "It was incredibly stupid what they did."
Both teens wrote letters that their lawyers read.
On behalf of his client, Levi Evans, Robert Kinton read in part, "My behavior was extremely inappropriate, immature, and lacked any respect. I know I am at fault."
Circuit Judge William Acree addressed the pair saying, "Both of you are young, you have the opportunity to make something out of your life."
Instead of a possible 2-year jail sentence, Acree instead sentenced them to 2 years of community service. Each teen will be responsible for 100 hours a year.
Lisa Oatsvall, active with 'Justice For Puppy Doe' said later, "It broke my heart. It's not enough. They should have been in jail."
Oatsvall and others later released dozens of purple balloons. She said she was thinking not just of Puppy Doe, but of his abusers.
"Hopefully they've learned a lesson from all this so far. Maybe we've taught them something too, we can only hope so."
Oatsvall says while she is disappointed, she is not giving up. She tells Local 6 she plans to use the 'Justice for Puppy Doe' Group as a jumping off point to help other abused animals.