West Virginia man gets jail time for hanging dog with chain

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man has been sentenced to jail for hanging a pit bull from a tree near a set of railroad tracks in Charleston.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that 23-year-old John D. Copening Jr. was sentenced Wednesday to one to five years in jail, with an additional six months. Prosecutors say Copening admitted to beating the female dog in April until it defecated on itself before hanging it with a logging chain. He then fled to Florida but surrendered to police that month.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster says violence to animals is often a precursor to violence against people.

Copening pleaded guilty last month to animal cruelty and was credited the roughly 200 days he already spent in jail.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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