Rudolph Poppe will serve less time for savagely killing dog than you might think

Rudolph Poppe
Rudolph Poppe

In July, Rudolph Poppe brutally killed his 13-year-old Golden Retriever in his driveway with a sledgehammer as horrified onlookers, including a number of children, watched.

SEE ALSO: Katherine Kersten's bizarre plot to kill your dog: A moral history

Poppe, a 71-year-old Savage resident, was sentenced earlier this week. And while the Star Tribune characterized his punishment as "above and beyond the usual sentence for animal cruelty," others regard it as too light given the cruelty of his crime.

Poppe was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years' probation, during which time he's banned from owning pets and drinking alcohol (his BAL the evening he killed his dog was 0.16).

During the sentencing hearing, Scott County District Court Judge Rex Stacey told Poppe, "I think about the kids in the neighborhood who saw this, whose parents pleaded with you not to do this."

"I was never intent on sending you to prison, but those kids... I want their parents to be able to tell them you went to jail for it," Judge Stacey continued, according to a Shakopee Valley News report.

Poppe's legal counsel argued he was just putting his elderly dog out of its misery in a manner similar to how his stepfather used to kill horses on his farm. But Judge Stacey said that doesn't mitigate what Poppe did on that July evening.

"The way we treat our pets defines us," Stacey said. "You don't live on a farm, Mr. Poppe. You're not your stepfather... I'm doing a very specific thing. I'm judging you for what you did that day."

If you're interested in reading a wide range of responses to Poppe's sentence, check out the comments on the Justice 4 Millie Facebook page. (Millie was the dog Poppe killed.)

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at

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