Washington State Man Given Maximum Sentence in Dog Attack

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Kona as he appeared in March.


A Golden Retriever named Kona miraculously survived a merciless attack by a neighbor. Yesterday, his attacker was given the maximum sentence for his crime.

On March 20, neighbors heard a dog yelping and called animal control to investigate. What they found was shocking: 3 yr. old Kona was tied to a pole in a neighbor’s garage. His skull was crushed, jaw broken, numerous wounds on his body from a hatchet and wire embedded in his neck.

“If this had been a human being it would have amounted to torture,” prosecutor Dione Hauger said during Monday’s sentencing.

Because the dog was a defenseless victim and the crime was particularly brutal, Hauger said she asked for the maximum sentence. “It was based on the brutality of the actual crime. 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,” Hauger said.

Ricky Lee Knowles was sentenced to 6 months in prison, restitution of veterinarian bills in the amount of $5000.00, must wear an electronic monitoring device for 6 months after his release, and is banned from ever owning pets.

“I wish it could have been more, but to see the guy in handcuffs and taken to jail, that was elating,” said Sam Hokanson, Kona’s owner.

Knowles says he is sorry for harming Kona. He has said he was suffering from stress . “I had no premeditation. I just couldn’t take the noise any longer,” he said. “He was barking and I just snapped. I can’t explain it.”

Kona pulled through his ordeal to make a full recovery. “He’s got his hair back. He’s energetic. It’s as if nothing ever happened,” Hokanson said. “But we can’t hide that.” Kona and his family have since moved to a new neighborhood.

9 thoughts on “Washington State Man Given Maximum Sentence in Dog Attack”

  1. Gee…if the dog is outside and barking and barking maybe going over to talk to the neighbors first? Or if no one is home what about calling Animal Control and reporting them. Most localities have laws regulating dogs that bark and bark and bark.
    This is one reason that my dogs are inside when I am not home and supervised even when I am. There are people out there who are unable to think rationally and resort to violence. Anger is huge problem in our society and fueled by the media and the violence we see every day.
    So glad the dog has recovered and I hope he is kept safe from now on and isn’t in a situation where he barks incessantly. Dogs depend on their guardians to keep them safe.

    • You are so right. In everyone of these abuse/torture cases, the dogs were left unsupervised. My dogs are NEVER out when I am not home. I have them in a 6 ft privacy fence with padlocks on the inside. If my dogs are outside barking, I go see what they are barking at. If these people do not have the opportunity to snatch your dog..then your dog cannot becoem a victim.

  2. The Court should also have ordered a psych evaluation because the next time this POS “snaps” it could be a child who is “crying too much” and he finds he “cannot take it anymore” or someone behind him in traffic “honks too much” or any other of a myriad of modern day annoyances. The problem is not barking dogs or crying babies – it is HIM and the Court missed an urgent, extremely important opportunity to find out what is wrong with that POS.

    • My neighbor had a dog who barked day and night, no 1 took care on him, it would be days till he would get food or water, I am not sure what to make of this but I am minority and live in an 80 % black neighborhood and they all have dogs that get no good care, they are either tiedup by a tree or in a small enclosed place, they seldom play with them or get out of this enclosures and linger in flea infested and excrement inches thick in the ground, but they go to church on Sundays and will tell you how Jesus talks to them….I wish he would tell them to treat this godly beings better.The law takes forever to act, I turned that neighbor in, now I hope that sweet dog is in a better place, because it was hell where he was in here

  3. Psychopathic nut! Golden’s are the sweetest dogs and if this sick man did this to an innocent helpless dog, he most certainly wouldn’t stop at a human. This is just the story to attach to a letter to your local, state and federal government to demand stricter laws! 6 months? Not enough!

  4. I hope the neighbors didn’t wait for animal control to show up before going to this mans house to find out what was going on. I would have been at his door as soon as I heard the dog in distress. Might have saved this dog from some of this abuse and might have been able to show the man how it felt to be the one tied up and abused. Just thinking out loud.

  5. ‘If this had been a human being it would have amounted to torture,” prosecutor Dione Hauger said during Monday’s sentencing.’

    HUH? Torture is torture!! Still not enough punishment but considering that murderers are getting out of jail early what can we expect? Watch your back, Ricky Lee!! And your other parts.

  6. My heart goes out to that poor dog .To suffer so much and then to be so loving ,If only humans could be like him Kona I hope and Pray you have a long happy life ,As for the brute who did this to you I hope he gets his just rewaard ,


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