A Chicago real estate agent who posed as the owner of two dogs, paid a reward to the person who found them and then hurled them off the top of a five-story car park, has been jailed.
Edward Hanania, 23, was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday (28 July) after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges.
He also received a six-year sentence for violating his probation on an unrelated drug conviction. The two sentences will run concurrently.
One of the dogs, 14-month-old Angel, survived the drop with badly broken legs and underwent successful surgery.
The other, four-year-old Guero, died from his injuries en route to a treatment centre.
Prosecutors said Hanania, of Oak Lawn, obtained the toy poodles by responding to a Facebook post from someone who had found the animals.
The court heard how he then posed as the pets' owner, paid the person who found the dogs a $20 reward and then drove them to the top of a parking garage at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, before throwing them to the ground below.
Hospital surveillance footage of the incident, obtained by The Daily Southtown newspaper, seemingly shows a man pull into a spot atop the parking deck, leave his car and peer over the ledge to the ground below.
He then reportedly walks to the passenger side, grabs a "white object" in each hand and hurls them off the roof before speeding away in his car.
The incident was said to last less than a minute.
The case was closely followed by animal welfare advocates, who showed up to each of Hanania's court appearances and held a rally.
"I think our presence played a part in it, I really do," said Peggy O'Leary, one of the activists. "The state's attorney came out last time and talked to us and said the judge was aware we were here keeping tabs on this guy."
Oak Lawn police Chief Randy Palmer said following the sentence: "I would say that justice was served."
The motive for the incident is not known.
Hanania's defense attorney, Charles Ingles, told the judge in an earlier hearing that his client graduated from Oak Lawn High School, lives with his parents in Oak Lawn and is a licensed real estate agent.