Sentencing postponed for man who beat girlfriend's dogs to death - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Sentencing postponed for man who beat girlfriend's dogs to death

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A woman whose boyfriend beat her three dogs to death in their College-area home last year told a judge Tuesday that she still cries when she thinks about what happened to her pets.

"I feel like I ultimately failed them," Natasha Strain said of her dogs, Josh, Jackie and Pikanik.

Judge Charles Gill postponed sentencing for Strain's former boyfriend, Patrick Land, because he was not the judge who fashioned the plea deal for the 25-year-old defendant.

Strain, who now lives on the East Coast, was allowed to make a statement so she wouldn't have to return to court on Nov. 18, when Land is now scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Charles Rogers.

When Land pleaded guilty in September to multiple animal abuse charges, he was told he faced up to five years and four months in state prison under the plea bargain struck between the defense and Rogers.

But Deputy District Attorney Garrett Randall said he will urge Rogers to sentence Land to eight years and eight months behind bars.

The prosecutor said Land called Strain on Sept. 20, 2010, telling her that he had come home to find Josh, her 60-pound 8-year-old Golden Retriever mix, dead. No necropsy was performed on that dog, the prosecutor said.

Three weeks later, on Oct. 14, Land again called his girlfriend to tell her that he had found her dogs Jackie, a 9-year-old 70-pound white Shepard mix, and Pikanik, a 50-pound mixed breed, dead in a bedroom. This time, the woman ordered necropsies on the dogs and a veterinarian determined they were beaten to death, Randall said.

The two dogs that died on Oct. 14 had massive internal injuries and bled to death, the prosecutor said. He said there was evidence also that there were attempts to suffocate the animals and restrain them with something over their heads to prevent them from biting and barking.

At a preliminary hearing last May, Jenna Rushie, the couple's former roommate, testified that Land's girlfriend cared for the dogs and Land sometimes complained that she spent more time with them than she did with him.

Dr. Monica Clare, a veterinarian, testified at the same hearing that Jackie and Pikanik were each hit with a number of blows and would have had to be restrained to continue taking a beating.

The defendant's DNA was found under one of the dogs' nails, Randall said.

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