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Front Royal man pleads guilty to animal cruelty

By Katie Demeria

FRONT ROYAL -- A Front Royal resident's felony charge of torturing an animal and causing death was reduced Tuesday in Warren County General District Court.

Christopher Lee George pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and was sentenced to 365 days in jail, with 360 suspended on condition of good behavior. He also agreed to 100 hours of community service, requiring written proof of completion.

He will only be serving five days total in jail, according to Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Bryan Layton. The suspension is dependent on George complying with the other terms made.

George also agreed not to own any companion animals.

Animal cruelty is considered a misdemeanor, while the original charge of torturing an animal and causing death was a class six felony, which can result in sentences lasting between one and five years.

The animal George was accused of torturing, according to Layton, was a dog. The incident took place on May 2, and the charge was placed on May 17.

Substitute Judge W. Andrew Harding presided over the case.

"I wouldn't say you were provoked or anything, but there was a trigger, and I hope that you don't have that trigger again," he told George.

Defense attorney Jerry Talton responded for George, and explained that the incident was partially influenced by the hospitalization of George's 17-year-old daughter in May.

Talton said that George "loved the animal" and "regretted the decision, and just was not aware of the specific statute that applied."

"There will be no confusion in the future," Talton added.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com

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