Photo courtesy of Rose Adkins
UTICA – The Utica woman who repeatedly tossed her puppy into a river, nearly drowning him on January 4th, was sentenced to six months in prison and probation in the Macomb County Circuit Court on June 23rd after petitioning for hers Case to be moved to Macomb County Mental Health Tribunal dismissed.
During the January incident, Utica police responded to a call reporting that a woman threw a dog in the Clinton River several times. Utica police found a woman, Amber Sunde, 26, who was holding a small, 6-month-old wet dog that appeared to have suffered trauma.
Officials said the puppy, named Lux, sustained numerous injuries, including a broken leg and skull. The puppy had previously sustained other injuries, including a broken front leg.
During the June 23 court hearing in Sunde, Judge James Biernat sentenced her to two years probation and six months in Macomb County Jail, plus three days. Sunde was ordered to report to prison at 6:00 pm on June 25; she was eligible to be placed in the prison’s psychiatric section. After being released, she has to work 30 hours a week. She is required to do 60 hours of community service and pay $ 640.72 in compensation to the Detroit pit crew who supervised Lux. She cannot own animals, ordered Biernat.
“Jail time is great. Personally, I think it should have taken longer, ”said Kendra Briggs, member of an animal rights group, on Facebook.
Sunde was originally supposed to be sentenced last month; However, this was delayed so she could try her case in a mental health court. If she had been allowed to do so, her charge would have been reduced to an administrative offense. Sunde pleaded guilty on April 1 of charges of third-degree animal cruelty.
Despite the recommendation of two therapists to go to a psychiatric court, she was turned down.
Rose Adkins of Utica, another animal rights activist, said the verdict was not very punishing but was positive.
“This sentence counts as a victory. A big thank you and greetings to everyone who stood up and spoke for Lux. We are also happy to announce that Lux has been adopted and is currently fine, ”she said via email.
She said that Sonde’s attorney, William Barnwell, said while observing the trial, the dog is considered property only under the law.
“That’s why that has to be changed in Lansing. As long as animals are considered property, it’s like saying they don’t feel, breathe, and don’t matter, but for many people animals are like family, “Adkins said. She said she plans to work with other activists to change the law.
Rosanna Basilisco, from Utica, said she was an activist advocating for voiceless animals.
“People would call her crazy because how can anyone really do something so barbaric and do anything to keep hurting an innocent animal that shouldn’t be born. All of this is due to human error. This is crazy for the average person, but using a reputable medical term like this is not okay, ”she said in an email.
She said the phrase was nothing compared to what it should have been.
Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido stated in a May press release that Sunde was charged with the most serious charges she could be charged and that the judge would have his discretion sentenced Sunde to prison.
Attempts to ask Sede’s attorney and Lucido to comment on the verdict before press time were unsuccessful.