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Man who killed dog with hammer banned from owning pets

October 5, 2012 |  5:14 pm

A video showing a man beating a neighbor’s muzzled German shepherd to death with a hammer was played to jurors Friday. Soon after, Young Song, 42, pleaded no contest to felony animal cruelty and misdemeanor petty theft and was immediately sentenced to a year in county jail.

He was also banned from owning pets for a decade.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Alison Matsumoto said Song entered his plea in the middle of the trial over the objection of the prosecutor, who wanted the jury to render a verdict in the animal cruelty case.

Pasadena Superior Court Judge Darrell Mavis sentenced Song to a year in county jail and three years' formal probation and ordered him not to possess or care for any animal for 10 years. Song was also allowed to surrender to authorities Nov. 2.

Prosecutors said the dog never recovered from the April 2011 beating and that without the security video from the home where it occurred, no one would have known who the attacker was.

Pasadena Humane Society officials said they had never seen anything like the video that was the central piece of evidence against Song. “When our officers first viewed the videotape, one of our officers had tears in his eyes,” said Steve McNall, who heads the Pasadena Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “In my 31 years at this animal shelter, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Song climbed a fence into a yard in the 1900 block of Navarro Avenue in Pasadena, where the 16-month-old dog was muzzled but untied, April 20, 2011. He then shot it with a pellet gun, left and returned shortly thereafter, chasing the dog and then beating it until it lay senseless. He took the dog's body away.

The dog’s owner returned later that day to a bloody scene and discovered that his dog was missing.

Song, who has worked for DreamWorks, is a "surfacer," or artisan who creates the look and surface qualities for animated characters, props and environments. His credits include "Kung Fu Panda," "Shark Tale," "Bee Movie" and "Madagascar 2."

The motive for the attack is unclear. The dog could have been entering Song’s property through a hole at the bottom of a fence separating the two yards. Song's lawyer had sought to portray the incident as a man defending his family from an animal he believed was endangering them.


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-- Richard Winton