Poynette man gets probation, jail time for poisoning ex-girlfriend’s dog

May 18, 2019

A Poynette man found guilty of poisoning his ex-girlfriend’s dog and stalking the woman was sentenced to jail and probation Friday in Columbia County Circuit Court.

In February, a jury found Trent L. Hebel, 30, guilty of two felony charges — stalking and mistreating an animal.

The 2016 case involves an incident in which prosecutors said Hebel poisoned his ex-girlfriend’s dog and caused her severe emotional distress by stalking her.

Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock withheld sentencing and placed Hebel on three years of probation.

Screnock ordered Hebel to continue counseling services through Aspen Counseling. Hebel was also ordered to pay $515 in restitution costs on both felony counts and submit a DNA sample. He is not allowed to have contact with the victim.

Screnock also imposed 180 days of jail time with Huber privileges to be served in separate 90-day increments — with the first 90 days beginning June 1.

The second 90-day sentence could be stayed if separate $10,800 donations are made to the Columbia County Humane Society and Hope House. Hebel was granted four days jail credit.

Defense attorney Jonas Bednarek asked whether he could front the cost of the donations using money from his office’s trust fund, a request Screnock granted.

During the sentencing hearing Friday, Columbia County Assistant District Attorney Crystal Long said she knew little of Hebel, except that he committed the crimes he was charged with.

Long said Hebel’s entire family and network of extended friends and employers don’t appear to believe he committed any crimes despite being convicted of a “vicious attack” on an animal and stalking his ex-girlfriend out of jealousy.

Bednarek said apart from probation and jail time, his client would be punished for his entire life because he cannot vote nor possess a firearm and because his case has attracted negative attention from some members of the public.

Screnock heeded a statement from Hebel’s employer, who described Hebel as a caring, hardworking family man and said her business would suffer greatly if he went to jail.

Although Screnock said Hebel “has learned his lesson,” he still needed to take into consideration the public safety aspect of discouraging other people from committing similar crimes.

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