NEW BERN - A Craven County man was sentenced up to fifteen months in prison after being found guilty of felony starvation of an animal.
Jon Anthony Civils, 30, was convicted following a three-day trial in Craven County Superior Court.
The investigation began March 14, 2022, when a deceased dog named Sugar was brought to the Lynaire Kennels crematory facility in New Bern.
Based on the condition of the animal, staff at the facility immediately contacted the Animal Protective Services Bureau of the Craven County Sheriff's Office who initiated an investigation.
A necropsy examination of the dog performed by Craven Animal Hospital determined the cause of death to be starvation.
The dog was found to have a lack of body fat, poor muscle mass, pieces of plastic in the stomach, but no evidence of food in either the stomach or intestinal tract.
Trial evidence showed Civils agreed to care for the dog when its owner, who previously lived with Civils, was taken into custody on unrelated criminal charges Feb. 9, 2022 and housed at the Craven County Detention Center during the 33 days preceding the animal’s death.
Superior Court Judge Joshua Willey Jr. presided over the trial and sentenced the defendant to a term of at least five months up to 15 months in prison. The maximum sentence allowable by law for the conviction was a minimum of six months up to 17 months imprisonment.
The State of North Carolina was represented at trial by Assistant District Attorney Augustus Willis.
District Attorney Scott Thomas, who oversaw the prosecution, commended the work of the Animal Protective Services Bureau and Willis in preparing the case and presenting evidence to the jury.
In a press release given Friday, March 17, Thomas emphasized the seriousness with which his office regards animal mistreatment.
"We are pleased with the guilty verdict and prison sentence imposed in this case and are hopeful that it sends the message that mistreatment of animals will not be tolerated in our community," Thomas said. "We will continue to work closely with Sheriff Hughes and his Animal Protective Services Bureau to protect vulnerable animals in Craven County."
Let the punishment fit the crime. Starve this animal the same way he did.
He most likely deserves more time than he got... How could you be so mean to a poor defenseless animal.......
I think that's how a lot of serial killers get started.
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