Pasadena man pleads ‘no contest’ to fatal beating of neighbor’s dog

PASADENA — A Pasadena man Friday admitted in court to beating his neighbor’s German shepherd dog to death with a hammer last year, authorities said.
During the second day of trial in Pasadena Superior Court for what Pasadena Humane Society officials described as the worst case of animal cruelty the agency has ever seen, Young Song , 41, entered a “no contest” plea to his charges, court officials said.
He admitted a felony count of animal cruelty, theft of a dog and the special allegation of using a deadly weapon in the fatal April 20, 2011 beating of his neighbor’s pet as it was tethered and muzzled within its owners’ backyard in the 1900 block of Navarro Avenue, according to Pasadena Humane Society and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Song is an animator at Dreamworks who worked on films including Shark Tale, Bee Movie, Flushed Away, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar 2. 
He was sentenced to 1 year in county jail and three years of probation, Pasadena Humane Society spokeswoman Ricky Whitman said.
Pasadena Superior Court Judge Darrell Mavis also ordered that song possess no pets or animals for 10 years, according to court officials. He was ordered to surrender to begin serving his sentence Nov. 2.
“We’re really pleased with this outcome,” Whitman said. “It’s a significant victory for animals.”
Song could have faced more than four years in state prison for the crimes.
“I think that the judge did what he thought was best. I think this is a significant sentence,” Whitman said.
Song, 41, shot his neighbor’s dog with a pellet gun before beating it to death with a hammer and removed the body from the neighbor’s yard, Whitman said.
While the body of the animal was not recovered, she said, investigators discovered DNA belonging to the 14-month-old German shepherd inside Song’s car.
The attack on the defenseless dog was caught on videotape by a camera mounted inside the home of the dog owner, officials said.
Jurors viewed the tape Thursday at the outset of the trial, Whitman said. The following morning, he changed his plea from not guilty to no contest.
Before changing his plea in the case, Song’s position was that the dog, though tethered by a leash and muzzled in the yard of its owner at the time of the crime, posed a threat to him and his family because it would come into his yard, and that he attacked the animal out of fear, Whitman said.
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