Valdosta Daily Times

November 5, 2013

Man sentenced for animal cruelty

Gets probation, fine, community service over malnourished puppy

Adam Floyd
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — A local man has been given the maximum fine and a stiff sentence in an animal cruelty case that had local animal rights activists outraged.

Antonio Baker, 27, was sentenced by Municipal Court Judge Vernita Bender Oct. 21 to one year of probation, during which he will not be allowed to have any animals, 80 hours of community service to be served at an animal shelter, a $500 fine, the maximum, and 10 days in jail, according to reports.

The most peculiar part of his sentence is the 10 days of jail time Baker was given to serve during weekends. Jail time is rarely given in animal cruelty cases in Georgia, according to Judy Haverkamp, a Humane Society volunteer.

“Judge Bender said it was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty she had ever seen,” said Haverkamp.

Animal Control officers took a two to five-month-old puppy, Dex, from Baker's residence Aug. 9. Dex, was taken to the Lowndes County Animal Shelter, but efforts to save his life were unsuccessful and Dex died from severe malnutrition Aug. 12, according to Haverkamp.

Animal rights activist protested outside the courthouse before Baker’s day in court, holding signs and pictures of Dex in his malnourished state.

“We really hope this encourages people to speak up and tell someone when they see animal abuse,” said Haverkamp.