HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — A woman whose bulldogs mauled two people to death, including a 91-year-old man, was sentenced Thursday to up to 15 years in prison.
Circuit Judge Stanley Latreille ordered Diane Cockrell to pay more than $30,000 in restitution as well as serve from 43 months to 15 years.
Cockrell, 52, pleaded no contest last month to two felony counts of keeping dangerous animals causing death and a third lesser charge. A no-contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.
Authorities said four of Cockrell's dogs attacked 91-year-old Edward Gierlach in his driveway and pounced on 56-year-old Cheryl Harper, who was walking or jogging nearby. The attacks happened last September near Cockrell's home, about 45 miles west of Detroit.
Cockrell had a horse farm on the property, and authorities said the wooden fencing surrounding it was not adequate to keep dogs from escaping. Authorities euthanized her 10 dogs.
Defense attorney Daniel Blank said Cockrell "had no idea" the dogs were capable of killing people, and the case should be a lesson to all dog owners.
Cockrell will report to prison Jan. 2. The delay is to allow her to receive treatment for health problems, Blank said.
When you first see the headline you might think, "Good, make the owner responsible for once." But as you read further you see that there were four dogs involved in the attack but the powers that be decided to euthanize ALL of her dogs. Six of them didn't have anything to do with the attack yet have to pay for the irresponsibility of their owner with their lives.