Robert Sanetta, 25, of Elizabeth Township, PA, was sentenced to two consecutive terms of one to two years each for cruelty to animals and conspiracy to commit cruelty for the fatal beating of Smokey, a mix-breed dog belonging to Judith Fresh of Forward, on Feb. 23. Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kathleen A. Durkin handed down the maximum sentence that could be imposed.

He and Jason Knowles, 24, of Belle Vernon bludgeoned the 13 yr old dog with an aluminum baseball bat outside their home at 360 Bunola River Road, until it died, then dragged the poor dog’s body to the Monongahela River and threw it in. Sanetta says that he held the dog down while Knowles beat it. The dog’s brutalized and frozen body was found the next day. Knowles denies any involvement, his trial will take place on Oct. 24.

The dog had been staying with Debbie Fresh after her mother, who owned Smokey, recently moved out. Arriving home from work the morning of the 24th, Debbie didn’t immediately realize the dog was missing. Her brother Timmy got a phone call from Sanetta, who had been a friend, describing what he and Knowles did to the dog.

“You don’t have to worry about Smoky no more. We beat it to death. I held him down while Jason beat him to death with the aluminum baseball bat and threw him into the river.”

Although Mr. Sanetta has multiple prior convictions for offenses including criminal trespass, receiving stolen property, loitering and driving while intoxicated and has been in the Allegheny County Jail for parole violations since his arrest six months ago, his attorney, Michael Moser, calls the sentence excessive for the guilty plea to the misdemeanors. She plans to ask the judge to reconsider.

Yeah, this guy sounds like a real upstanding citizen with a great track record. Who knows who his next target might have been seeing how highly he obviously values life and the law!

Ms. Fresh, Smokey’s owner, who said she accepted Sanetta’s apology, was surprised at the sentence as well.

“Since he did confess and plead guilty, they could have gone a little lighter,” she said, although she did say, “I had him since he was a baby, and he was a big part of my life, and it hurt.”

Nothing is going to bring her dog back, that was her ‘baby’ and it’s refreshing to see a judge take something like this seriously for a change! This was a heinous and brutal crime. This poor dog who had probably know nothing but love and kindness his entire life, dragged out and brutally beat again and again until death was probably a welcome release from the pain and agony. Sanetta will live, Smokey didn’t have the chance!

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