A man who stole a car with a dog inside and then left the dog to die was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison Wednesday.
Francisco Gonzalez, 35, pleaded guilty last month to charges of first-degree animal abuse, second-degree animal abuse, animal abandonment, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, first-degree theft and possession of methamphetamine.
He also pleaded no contest to one count of identity theft.
Gonzalez was caught on a surveillance camera stealing a car outside Sweet Leaf Illusions PDX on April 7.
The owner of the business, Bill Robbins, had left his 2-year-old black lab-Great Dane mix named Kona in the locked car with the air conditioner running.
The car was found five days later at Southeast 91st and Cooper Street, with Kona dead inside.
In court Wednesday, Gonzalez said he left the car in a public place so someone could let the dog out.
"I thought that would be my plan, that somebody would take the dog out, but unfortunately it did not turn out that way," Gonzalez said through a translator.
Gonzalez then turned and told Robbins, "I've very sorry."
While pleased with the prison sentence for Gonzalez, Robbins said he did not accept the apology.
"I don't believe a word he says," Robbins said outside the courtroom.
Robbins said Gonzalez had been "eyeballing" and smirking at him during previous court appearances. Robbins believes the supposed sadness from Gonzalez came as a result of learning he was going to prison for more than two years.
Gonzalez's wife Linda Kathy Gutierrez previously pleaded no contest to the charge of hindering prosecution in this case and was sentenced to three years probation.
Robbins and others had expressed frustration that Gonzalez was not facing felony charges of aggravated animal abuse.
Forensic evidence showed Kona did not suffer any physical trauma before death, which prosecutors said took felony charges off the table.
Robbins started an online petition called Justice for Kona that received more than 38,500 signatures in an effort to create stiffer penalties for animal theft and animal abuse.
"It was never about the car, it was never about the money he stole," Robbins said. "I just wanted my dog back."
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