Portage man given two years probation after killing family’s dog
A Portage man was placed on probation for two years after he killed a family’s dog while in their home to fix a stereo.
Andrew Collette, 39, pleaded no contest Tuesday in Columbia County Circuit Court to a single count of felony mistreatment of an animal, causing death. He was given a withheld sentence by Judge Troy Cross, who said Collette would face 3 1/2 years of prison if his probation is revoked.
The 2017 case started with a call from a Lodi veterinarian who told officers that on Feb. 18 she euthanized an 8 ½ pound papillon mix dog that had suffered extensive blunt-force trauma.
The dog’s owner told officers that earlier that day Collette had been working on a set of speakers for her and her husband and Collette had told her that he needed some extra tools, so she and a friend went to the store to get him what he needed.
When the woman returned home with supplies, she noticed her dog Pepe, which normally would run to greet her at the door, didn’t do that. Collette reportedly said something about the dog going out the window.
She began searching the house when Collette yelled that he had found the dog underneath a bed. The owner and a friend ran upstairs from the basement and saw Pepe under a bed with a bloody eye and not acting right.
The owner’s friend moved the dog and told officers she “felt like a bag of bones.”
They took the dog to the veterinarian where the vet told the family that a specialist surgeon would need to be brought in to work on Pepe because of the extent of the injuries, including a fractured pelvis, head trauma and a deflated lung. It was then decided to euthanize the dog.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Crystal Long said Collette had an extensive criminal history including three convictions in 2009 for sex registry violation, fourth-degree sexual assault and lewd and lascivious behavior, and a third case of disorderly conduct and bail jumping.
In 1996, Collette was convicted of felony arson, followed by 1996 and 2003 convictions for battery by a prisoner.
In his most recent conviction in August 2011, Collette was convicted of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer, with a charge of child enticement dismissed by request of the district attorney.
Collette was brought to court Tuesday from Waupun Correctional Institution, where he is due for release Aug. 14.
“I’m not sure what holds him there now,” Long said. “I think it was a revocation that has to do with this case.”
Defense attorney Jair Alvarez described the sentence recommendation as a “good deal for this kind of offense.” He said Collette has been treated for mental health issues including bi-polar and borderline personality disorders.
“I believe he is a changed man,” Alvarez said in comparison to when Collette was booked a year and a half earlier.
“I have respect for animals, which people may not believe based on the offense,” Collette said. “I was not in a good mental state at the time.”
Collette appeared to become emotional as he explained that in the days before his hearing, his mother had been hospitalized and that he was a guardian for her.
“If he goes back to prison, his mother is going to have nobody,” Alvarez said.