WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- Investigators call it one of the worst cases of animal abuse they have ever seen. Today- the man who committed that crime was sent to prison.
Steven Saxe admits he shot and killed his wife’s two dogs and burned their bodies. The crime stunned the community.
He apologized for killing the dogs but the judge, who was visibly disturbed by the details of the case, said there was no way he could not send Saxe to prison.
The judge told Saxe this crime cried out a prison sentence. He was sentenced to one to two years in prison on animal cruelty charges.
When Eyewitness News got to the Luzerne County Courthouse this morning, Saxe walked in a free man. A different picture on his way out- handcuffs and shackles.
“This case sparked a lot of outrage,” says Carol Crane of Hunlock Creek.
Saxe admits in 2016 he shot Lucky and Elmo, his wife’s dogs, just minutes after he and his wife had a violent argument. She left the house and he opened fire on the dogs.
Prosecutors demanded jail time- and they got it.
“We take animal cruelty seriously,” says Luzerne County Assistant Distirct Attorney Andy Bigda. “Hopefully it sends a message for people to not engage in this kind of conduct.”
But Pennsylvania Humane Officer Wayne Harvey isn’t so sure that people are getting that message.
“It seems to be growing and I don’t know why,” says Harvey. “We try to send a message to the public about animal cruelty thinking that jail time would be a deterrent, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working at this point.”
Crane says her and her neighbors feared that Saxe could get probation or a simple fine, which is often seen in animal abuse cases.
“It was pretty horrific,” says Crane. I’m an animal lover and there are a lot of people who call their pets their babies and are very attached to their animals.”
The judge also sentenced Saxe to another two and a half years in prison on aggravated assault and endangerment charges after he admitted to pointing that same gun and threatening his wife and others in the house that same night.
Humane officers urge the public to contact them if they have information on suspected animal abuse. You do not have to give your name.