May 16, 2012 | 09:53 AMELKHORN — Despite a prosecutor recommending prison, a man who beat and then shot his two dogs will spend the next three years on probation.
Kevin G. Gann, 51, Delavan Township, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of mistreatment of an animal, a felony count of possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle and a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.
As a condition of his probation, Gann will serve 90 days in jail with work release privileges. Before his sentencing he served 114 days in the jail.
Another condition of his probation is that he is not to consume alcohol and he can't own any cats, dogs or horses.
In a drunken stupor, Gann beat a beagle "until his hands were bloody" after it damaged a couch. He then took the animal out back and shot it. After shooting the first beagle, he then shot a second one, according to the criminal complaint.
"Alcohol abuse is apparently what fuels this entire case," Walworth County Judge John Race said. "When he was apprehended he was grossly intoxicated."
Defense attorney James Duquette argued that Gann would benefit from probation and treatment for his alcoholism.
Duquette said Gann "lacks memory of the incident due to his intoxicated state." He argued his client should receive probation where he can be supervised in the community.
"He needs supervision to keep him sober," Duquette said. "He would certainly benefit from AODA treatment and counseling."
During the hearing, Gann said little, except that he felt remorse for his actions.
Duquette pointed out that Gann's last serious legal trouble, a second-offense drunken driving, occurred more than 20 years ago.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo asked Race to sentence Gann to prison, but wasn't specific on for how long.
Donohoo said after Gann killed the animals, he called an ex-girlfriend and threatened to kill her and her family.
"I don't know what more we need to have to know that this person is dangerous," she said.
In the criminal complaint, the ex-girlfriend took Gann's threats seriously because of what he did to the dogs.
"These are words that caused this victim to be fearful and justifiably so," Donohoo said.
Duquette said Gann has no previous history of violent behavior, which is part of the reason the victim felt the threat was sincere.
"She was shocked he would behave like this," Duquette said. "The threats were credible because it was so uncharacteristic of him."
During the investigation, police learned that Gann possessed several firearms, including a short-barreled shotgun, which is illegal.
Duquette argued the firearm was an antique and never used. However, Gann apparently shortened the firearm himself.
Race said he wasn't sure why Gann would possess the weapon unless "he was intoxicated and fantasized about using it."
Race said although it may not sit well with some people, Gann was legally able to kill his dogs.
"Of course, where it becomes illegal is when he beats them," Race said.