Detroit dog owner gets probation in brutal mauling of man
Sep. 25, 2015
DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit dog owner whose pit bulls attacked a man so savagely that he lost two limbs and an ear was sentenced Friday to two years of probation, prompting a judge to criticize state law that kept him from ordering a prison term.
Derick Felton, 62, pleaded guilty earlier this month in an agreement with prosecutors to harboring dangerous animals that caused injuries. He's barred from owning any animals and could be jailed for six months at the end of his probation if he doesn't comply with court orders.
"You should not only accept responsibility, but undergo imprisonment," Judge Michael J. Callahan said. "However, that is not possible in this case."
Callahan said his earlier attempts at exceeding sentencing guidelines have been overturned.
Steve Constantine lost most of his left arm, his left leg below the knee and his left ear last fall. The 51-year-old Constantine was trying to feed Felton's dogs when he was attacked.
Police killed one dog at the scene. Eleven other pit bulls or pit bull mixes were captured and euthanized.
After the hearing, Felton told WWJ-AM that he was sorry Constantine was injured.
In May, a judge awarded $100 million to Constantine in a civil lawsuit, but he's not expected to collect that amount. Constantine couldn't attend Friday's hearing because he still faces serious medical issues, MLive.com reported.
Constantine's sister, Katherine Hawley, was her brother's primary caretaker for six months following the attack. Speaking after the sentencing, she said he "was a natural athlete his whole life," but now has trouble dialing a telephone, walking and opening a door.