Dog at Home

Girl who shot her household’s canine convicted of felony


A Sandgate lady who shot her household’s pet canine the day after Christmas in 2019 has been convicted of a felony.

Joyce Cornell, 48, was discovered responsible Friday of aggravated cruelty to animals by torture, following a bench trial, through which a choose weighs the proof and points the decision.

Superior Court docket Decide Cortland Corsones introduced his verdict about two weeks after Cornell’s Could 31 trial in Bennington. Corsones concluded that Cornell deliberately, maliciously and with out simply trigger tortured a Nice Dane by capturing it twice at her residence on Dec. 26, 2019.

“Ms. Cornell did have an evil intent to trigger hurt to the animal,” the choose stated on the listening to. “I discover from the proof that she was upset with the canine from the night time earlier than. She’d had sufficient of the canine on account of its actions the night time earlier than, and he or she resolved to shoot the canine, and he or she did.”

Aggravated cruelty to animals carries a penalty of as much as 5 years in jail, however Corsones stated he’ll take into account deferring any jail time period. Cornell is scheduled for sentencing in round six weeks.

Cornell testified at trial that she’d been enjoying with the canine, named Atticus, that Christmas afternoon when the animal bit her within the ankle. She stated she barricaded herself within the rest room for about 15 hours, till the next morning, when the canine had calmed down and indicated it needed to go exterior.

Throughout these occasions, Cornell’s husband testified that he was sleeping after having an excessive amount of to drink on Christmas Day.

Cornell stated she hooked up the canine to its run line, then heard it pacing to return again inside from the chilly. She stated she opened the entrance door and its display screen door, and noticed the canine snarl and naked its enamel. She stated she bought scared and shot it with a handgun she’d retrieved for protecting functions.

Almost an hour later, when she heard the canine shifting, Cornell stated she shot it once more from the lavatory window. “I needed to place him out of his distress, as a result of he is harm due to me,” Cornell stated on the witness stand.

A scientific psychologist who testified for the protection supported Cornell’s assertion that she had no evil intent in capturing the animal.

On the morning that the Nice Dane was shot, a trash collector noticed the canine tied up within the yard and the house’s entrance doorstep lined in blood. State troopers who responded to the report arrived to search out the animal bleeding closely down the chest from a neck wound. A employees member from Second Likelihood Animal Shelter in Arlington, the place the Cornells had adopted it in November 2019, additionally got here to the scene. 

On the suggestion of the shelter staffer, a trooper euthanized the canine, with three gunshots. This occurred roughly six hours after the animal had first been shot, in accordance with police.

The prosecutor asserted that Cornell deliberately, maliciously and with out simply trigger tortured the canine — points on the middle of the trial.

Bennington County Deputy State’s Lawyer Alex Burke stated Cornell made a acutely aware option to seize a pistol whereas the animal was tied up, figuring out that capturing a canine would possible trigger dying. 

He stated she additionally left the canine bleeding exterior for about 45 minutes, with out offering support or treating its accidents, earlier than capturing the animal a second time. Burke stated Cornell had options to capturing the rescue canine.

Decide Corsones, in saying the conviction, stated he discovered past an affordable doubt that Cornell tortured the canine by capturing it twice, inflicting it bodily ache and struggling.

The choose stated he discovered “evil intent” in Cornell’s actions and an absence of compassion, as a result of she wasn’t at risk each instances she shot the canine, because it was nonetheless hooked up to the run line.

“If she was appearing compassionately, she would have let the canine stay exterior and be chilly and watch for her husband to get up relatively than to strategy the canine with a gun and determine to shoot it,” Corsones stated.

He added that, if she had been involved about having a vicious canine at residence, she may have returned it to Second Likelihood Animal Shelter. The courtroom had heard testimony that after Cornell and her husband adopted Atticus, they returned to the shelter, expressing issues concerning the canine’s conduct, however didn’t comply with by with the shelter’s supply of assist.

The choose additionally stated that Cornell’s sister-in-law is a veterinarian and will have helped them with the Nice Dane.

At Friday’s listening to, Cornell additionally pleaded responsible to a misdemeanor cost of offering false info to a regulation enforcement officer investigating the canine capturing.

She admitted mendacity to troopers when requested if anybody else was inside her residence. She’d stated no, when she knew her husband, Scott Cornell, had been contained in the residence.

When troopers entered the house, they discovered him — in addition to 23 firearms, together with rifles and shotguns. He wasn’t allowed to personal firearms as a result of he was a convicted felon who’d been discovered responsible of a violent crime.

In April 2021, Scott Cornell pleaded responsible to 10 misdemeanor counts of prohibited possession of a firearm below a cope with the Bennington County State’s Lawyer’s Workplace. Corsones sentenced him to at least one to a few years in jail, all suspended, and positioned him on probation for 18 months.

The prosecutor earlier dismissed one other felony cost of aggravated cruelty to an animal by inflicting undue ache towards Joyce Cornell. The state alleged that she killed the canine, however her protection legal professional, Rick Burgoon, argued that it was state troopers who killed the animal after they euthanized it.

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