Dog killer sentenced

Published 9:34 pm Thursday, April 14, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - On Monday Kyle Luttrell, a 22-year-old Niles man, was sentenced in Berrien County Court to two years on probation and must complete 200 hours of community service after being found guilty of shooting and killing his neighbor's dog last Dec. 8.
Becky Carpenter and her husband Dennis, son Caleb and daughter Jessica, whose dog was the one killed, are not happy with the outcome of the sentencing.
In addition to the probation, and community service, Berrien County Judge Gary Bruce ordered Luttrell to pay $665 in court costs, which included $65, restitution to the Carpenters for burial costs of their dog.
He also isn't allowed to exhibit and assaultive behavior, own any weapons, must undergo a mental health evaluation for anger management and not have any contact with the Carpenters.
Luttrell had told the court, he shot the dog because a few months prior to the December incident, he saw Buddy come onto his property and kill some of the kittens he had at the time, and then when he found another dead cat in his yard he decided to kill the dog.
He then went onto the Carpenters property, took Buddy from the outdoor kennel. He then took him out into the woods, tied him to a tree and shot him.
The Carpenter's found the dog the next day and reported what they had found to Michigan State Police.
Becky Carpenter also stated that during the trial that animal control was called when the kittens were killed to come out and check on the situation, but when the family checked with them they had no record about ever being called about Buddy.
Luttrell's sentence came as part of a plea agreement, in which three other charges he was facing, including a two-year felony firearm charge, a 90-day stealing and confining of a licensed animal and an unrelated driving while license suspended charge, were dropped.
He could have received up to nine months in jail if convicted on the charging of killing or torturing an animal.
She added, "We feel like the judicial system has let us down in a big way. When this whole thing happened my husband and I told our son that the system would take care of him for what he did, and now how are we supposed to tell Caleb and anyone else to believe in it when it let us down in this way."