Houston man gets 3 years in prison for punching and choking a dog

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston man with a history of violence has been sentenced to three years in prison for hitting and choking a dog, according to the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

Michael Wayne Johnson, 48, was arrested in October after witnesses told authorities he lifted a dog off the ground by placing both hands around its neck, choking the animal. Witnesses add that they saw Johnson repeatedly punch the dog in the face.

The dog, a Corgi-Australian shepherd mix-breed known as "Old Man," was taken into custody by BARC Animal Shelter and placed in a rescue program for adoption.

"Prosecutors who specialize in animal cruelty work hard to get justice for those who might not have a say in our system," District Attorney Kim Ogg said. "Pets are family. They are protected under the law. We want to hold abusers accountable."

According to the district attorney's office, Johnson pleaded guilty in April to cruelty to a non-livestock animal and asked to be sentenced by a judge.

Johnson's criminal record includes a prior conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced in that case to two years in prison in 2006.
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