For Dallas, Texas native Thyren Clent Justus, 36, the days are not going to get any easier after he was found guilty of felony animal cruelty for fatally beating his Australian shepherd puppy, in 2016. Justus, who plead guilty to one count of felony animal cruelty, took a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid a longer prison sentence and even steeper fines.
Defense attorney Pete Schulte argued that Justus, a recovering alcoholic who relapsed on the day of the incident, didn’t remember harming the dog, telling the court that he was “black out drunk,” to know what was “really happening.”
However, Dallas County Prosecutor Felicia Kerney counter-argued that Schultes claims were completely unfounded and preposterous, explaining to the court that Justus, albeit intoxicated, knew exactly what he was doing when he stomped his foot on the dog, violently beat him, after he flew into a drunken rage over the pups “unorthodox” potty practices.
State District Judge Tracy Holmes, wasn’t buying Justus’ version of events, and his “convenient amnesia” saying,
“What would cause you to become so violent to an animal like that?”
before handing down a stiff, 5-year prison sentence to be served in a Texas State Prison facility.
Dallas Police officers were sent to the 3500 block of Wheeler Street at a residential complex known as the Oaktown Apartments after a woman complained of hearing a dog yelping and a man screaming. Police officers soon arrived on the scene where they found a shirtless, heavily intoxicated Justus who reportedly shouted: “my dog died man…it died.”
Officers found the young, blue-eyed Australian shepherd with blood around his nose and snout, unconscious on top of a closed covered toilet seat. Officers on the scene tried desperately to revive the dog, whose name was Luke. Unfortunately, Luke was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police officers soon turned their attention to Justus, questioning him about the visible injuries and bruises they found on Luke. Justus told them round about stories that were inconsistent with his original version of events, and he was subsequently arrested and charged with one count of felony animal cruelty.
After local news media outlets got a hold of the story, Justus, a Registered Nurse, was outed on social media, and people began calling his employer to tell them what he was alleged to have done to Luke. Subsequent to hearing complaints, his employer fired him, and his landlord evicted him, leaving Justus homeless.
While he was awaiting trial, Justus, an admitted alcoholic, was arrested on a DUI charge and that case is still pending.
At his sentencing, District Judge Tracy Holmesand sternly rebuked Justus saying,
“Luke suffered unimaginable physical pain, as you viciously struck him with your fists until there was no life left in him. With the powers vested in me through this court, you shall never own another animal again. Take him out of here.”
With that, the court bailiff handcuffed a stoic, emotionless Justus, who held his head low in shame as he was led away to prison.
Justice has been done.👮🏽