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Vermont woman who shot dog found guilty of animal cruelty

June 19, 2022 GMT

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont woman who shot her dog twice and left it chained outside in the snow so severely injured that it was later euthanized has been found guilty of aggravated cruelty and animal torture.

Joyce Cornell, 48, of Sandgate, was convicted by a judge Friday after a one-day bench trial last month, the Bennington Banner reported.

Judge Cortland Corsones said that Cornell acted intentionally and with malicious intent.

Cornell said she became terrified of the Great Dane after it bit her on the ankle on Christmas Day, 2019. She told the court she let the dog out the next day, but shot it when it growled at her.

She left it outside and later shot the dog again later through the bathroom window.

A trash collector who came to the home found the injured dog and police were called. A Vermont State Police trooper euthanized the dog.

Defense lawyer Richard Burgoon said the case was determined by “hairline facts.”

“The judge just happened to interpret those facts on the left side of that line, but he could have easily gone to the other side,” he said.

Cornell remains free on bond pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.