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Sentence handed down for Glynn Johnson, former L.A. County fire official, in beating of neighbor's dog

April 2, 2010 |  2:15 pm

Animal lovers march in December 2008 to protest the beating death of Karlee the German shepherd mix by Glynn Johnson

Former Los Angeles County Assistant Fire Chief Glynn Johnson, who was found guilty earlier this year of felony animal cruelty and using a deadly weapon in the November 2008 beating of his neighbor's puppy, received his sentence Friday.

Although Johnson could have been sentenced to up to four years in prison for beating Karley, a 6-month-old German shepherd mix, he received instead a 90-day sentence and three years' probation. He'll serve the sentence on weekends and is also required to complete anger management training, 400 hours of community service working with dogs and repay Karley's owners for the money they spent on veterinary care in the wake of the beating.

Johnson's beating of the puppy -- whose injuries were so severe that she had to be euthanized -- reportedly followed a longstanding feud with the Toole family, the neighbors who owned Karley. During the trial in Riverside County Superior Court, defense attorneys argued that Johnson beat Karley in self-defense after she attacked him so severely that he feared for his life.

Johnson himself testified that he "was in a combat situation with this dog ... I was doing everything I could to kind of hold the animal at bay so it wouldn't get close to my eyes and face."

Prosecutors countered by arguing that Johnson's attack on Karley was unprovoked.

Travis Staggs, a friend of the Tooles, told The Times in 2009 that he was walking the dog back to her home from his yard on the day of the beating when Johnson offered to take her the rest of the way. "Then something in his head snapped and he started beating the dog," Staggs said. Johnson used both his fist and the "deadly weapon," a 12-pound rock, to beat Karley.

The dog's injuries included multiple skull fractures and a broken jaw. The veterinarian who treated her for her injuries recommended euthanasia as the best option for her, and the Tooles agreed to have her put to sleep.

Outraged animal activists spent weeks demonstrating in front of the district attorney's office to demand Johnson be arrested for the beating.

After a guilty verdict was handed down in the case, owner Jeff Toole told KTLA that the family "knew all along what Glynn was guilty of. It won't bring Karley back, but justice will be served, and our family can move forward."

-- Lindsay Barnett

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Photo: Animal activists demonstrate to protest Karley's beating death on Dec. 18, 2008. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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