February 20, 2013

Woman who kicked puppy sentenced


---- — MALONE — A Malone woman who kicked a puppy so hard his legs broke is forbidden from owning animals and cannot be left alone with children under 16.

Shannon M. French, 41, was sentenced in Franklin County Court Tuesday to five years probation with special conditions and must perform 250 hours of community service after pleading guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals.

Judge Robert G. Main Jr. also ordered her to pay $1,288 to the North Country Animal Shelter, which cared for the German shepherd puppy, named Barkley, for weeks following surgery to repair his back legs.


Public Defender Thomas Soucia said his client has a drinking problem and that she “was very remorseful” and “more than willing to pay restitution.

“Her acts were despicable. She knows she has to deal with that,” Soucia said, adding that her behavior was “a few minutes of very bad actions.”

French declined to speak on her own behalf, which apparently didn’t sit well with the judge.

“It is remarkable that at the time of her (pre-sentencing) probation interview, she showed no remorse, never said she was sorry and never inquired of the status of the animal,” Main said.

“I guess that is characteristic. Given the opportunity, she’s chosen not to demonstrate any remorse, state any sorrow or express concern over the status of the little puppy.”


He said he’d go along with the plea agreement, but warned French she could be sent to state prison if she violated any of the terms of her probation, which expires Feb. 18, 2018.

The judge included a condition that she perform community service, “preferably at a local animal shelter, if any will have her” once they’ve been made aware of her animal-cruelty conviction.

Main further ordered that French not own a domestic animal “of any species” or live in a home that has a pet.

“Because of my concern of her behavior, it leads me to question how she would behave if faced with the care of children,” the judge said.

“She is not to be left alone with a child under 16. The literature says those who abuse animals will also (can) abuse children.”

French was fined $1,000, assessed a $300 court surcharge and a $25 crime-victim fee and must supply a sample of her DNA and pay the $50 filing fee.

She is to report back for a compliance hearing on Aug. 26.


French admitted in December that she had been drinking and was upset when her boyfriend did not come home one night in late July.

She attempted to leave their apartment, but her boyfriend’s 7-month-old puppy, Barkley, tried to follow her.

French later told Malone Village Police she kicked the puppy to get him out of the doorway and back inside.

Barkley was in pain for the next few days but was not taken to a veterinarian until the police were called in and the Animal Shelter personnel had him examined by Dr. Stu Stevens.

X-rays revealed the puppy had suffered a broken right femur, tibia and fibula and damage to his left leg that has disrupted his growth cycle. He will have trouble walking and running like other dogs, and one of his ears will never stand up straight.

Barkley’s plight was posted on the shelter’s Facebook account in July, and an outpouring of support and financial contributions came in from all over the country that paid for the operation to correct his legs.

He is now living with a family in Lake Placid.

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