A Leavenworth man has been sentenced to probation for singeing a dog’s whiskers with a propane torch.

A Leavenworth man has been sentenced to probation for singeing a dog’s whiskers with a propane torch.

Lemuel D. Hunter Jr., 59, was sentenced Friday in Leavenworth County District Court for a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty.

The charge stemmed from a Feb. 19, 2018, incident at an apartment in Leavenworth.

Hunter had been charged with a felony. But during a June 6 trial, District Judge Michael Gibbens ruled there was not enough evidence to find Hunter guilty of the felony charge. But the judge said there was sufficient evidence to find Hunter guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

The case was tried before the judge without a jury.

Probation was recommended as part of a presentencing report prepared through Court Services.

Assistant County Attorney Michael Jones asked Gibbens to impose jail time in the case.

Jones argued Friday that the actions by the defendant “were not reasonable and, in fact, cruel.”

Jones also argued Hunter has other convictions in recent years involving disruptive behavior in the community.

Defense attorney Geoffrey Sonntag said his client agrees the recommendations made by Court Services in the presentencing report are appropriate.

Sonntag noted that Hunter is a disabled veteran.

Sonntag said his client suffers from mental health issues that sometimes get the better of him.

The defense attorney said Hunter understands that probation is an opportunity to have additional structure in his life.

When given the opportunity to speak, Hunter said he felt that none of what happened was malicious.

Gibbens asked Hunter if he did not think it malicious to take a propane torch to a dog.

Hunter said he had used the torch in an effort to move the dog from one cage to another. He acknowledged it was a bad idea but said it was not his intent to hurt the dog.

“I regret every part of this,” he said.

Gibbens asked Hunter if he believes he will be able to complete probation.

“Yes sir,” Hunter said.

Gibbens said he considers himself an animal lover.

“This really did bother me,” the judge said.

Gibbens followed the recommendations of the presentencing report. The judge sentenced Hunter to 12 months in the county jail but suspended the sentence and placed the defendant on probation for one year.

Hunter was ordered to make a $500 donation to a local animal shelter. The defendant also was told he cannot own any animal.

Hunter also was ordered to undergo a mental health assessment and follow the recommendations of the evaluation.

“Our office takes very seriously all crimes involving the harm to helpless animals,” Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said in a news release following the sentencing.

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