Man to Wear Pup Costume for Shooting Dog

The Associated Press
Friday, December 15, 2006; 4:11 PM

PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- A man who shot his Great Dane in the head is allowed to reduce his sentence by dressing up as a dog. Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti, known for his creative sentences for low-level crimes, offered to cut Robert M. Clark's sentence Thursday to 10 days in jail if he wears a Safety Pup costume and visits the five elementary schools in Painesville, about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland.

The mascot educates children about issues ranging from traffic safety to drug abuse.

Clark, 38, who lives outside the city, pleaded no contest to an animal cruelty charge and was sentenced to 180 days in jail for shooting his dog Bill.

Cicconetti suspended all but 30 days of Clark's sentence if he pays the Lake County Human Society for the dog's veterinarian bills. Then the judge offered to cut an additional 20 days if Clark dresses up as Safety Pup.

He was arrested July 3 after neighbors reported hearing the dog's cries and police found the injured animal. The humane society took the dog to an emergency veterinary clinic, but he suffered brain damage and had to be euthanized, the group said.

Clark is appealing the sentence, court officials said Friday.

Other sentences by Cicconetti include making speeding motorists work as crossing guards and ordering a couple who vandalized a baby Jesus statue to lead a donkey through the city's streets.

© 2006 The Associated Press