Over prosecutors' objections, a Orange County Superior Court judge Thursday gave a Newport Beach man probation for swinging his 8-pound puppy through the air by a leash on its neck.
Verne Joseph Strong, 57, was given credit for 317 days served in jail and sentenced to three years informal probation for misdemeanor animal abuse by a caretaker.
Prosecutors were seeking a felony conviction for Strong, a convicted burglar, for violating his parole.
On July 11, Strong and his girlfriend, Angel Marie Holmes, 37, also from Newport Beach, were arrested at the Walmart parking lot in Westminster. Police were called to the area after witnesses saw Strong swing the couple's 8-pound Chihuahua, Meanie, around by the leash attached to its neck.
Police responded and saw the pair and Meanie in a parked car. They also saw Strong hit the dog repeatedly when it started barking.
Holmes was arrested for allegedly lying to police, telling them that she never saw Strong abuse the dog.
Holmes has failed to appear in court on an accessory charge. There's a $25,000 warrant for her arrest.