A Salem woman was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for strangling her neighbor's 9-week-old puppy.
Meagan Lafferty, 44, pleaded no contest to first-degree aggravated animal abuse and attempted aggravated harassment and was sentenced by Marion County Judge Claudia Burton on Monday.
On Jan. 30, Lafferty's neighbors invited her to stay the night after a fire at her apartment complex near Rural Avenue SE and Winter Street SE displaced her.
While she was there, she picked up the puppy, a Great Pyrenees/Labrador mix the family had purchased two weeks earlier as a companion animal, and tried to walk out the front door.
The female owner of the puppy, who also had an infant to care for, asked Lafferty to let the dog go, but Lafferty ignored her.
Concerned, the owner dialed 911 and watched as Lafferty held the puppy down on a recliner in her living room and put her hands around the animal's neck.
The woman said the puppy struggled for a few minutes then his tail twitched and he went limp. She told police Lafferty said, "I am God, and I am here to end his misery" as she strangled the puppy.
By the time police and the woman's husband arrived at the home, the puppy was dead. Lafferty did not respond to police commands. She kept her hands around the puppy's neck until officers pried her fingers away.
Video: Thousands of animals are abused every year. In Oregon, there are more than 20 anti-animal cruelty laws. Lauren Hernandez and Whitney Woodworth/Statesman Journal
Lafferty was charged with first-degree aggravated animal abuse, first-degree animal abuse, attempted aggravated harassment and resisting arrest.
In court notice, prosecutor Jean Kunkle noted Lafferty's lack of remorse, threats of violence and deliberate cruelty to a vulnerable victim.
After her arrest, Lafferty refused to appear in court or speak with her attorney, who later filed a motion for a psychological evaluation. According to court records, she'd become increasingly isolated and paranoid in the six months before her arrest.
Lafferty was committed to the Oregon State Hospital when she was found unable to aid and assist in her own defense and deemed to be a danger to herself and others in the community.
Her court case continued following her psychological evaluation. She pleaded no contest to animal abuse and attempted harassment, and the remaining charges were dismissed.
Lafferty was sentenced to one year in jail for the harassment charge and two years and four months in prison for killing the puppy. Burton ordered that her sentences be served consecutively.
For questions, comments and news tips, email reporter Whitney Woodworth at email@example.com, call 503-399-6884 or follow on Twitter @wmwoodworth
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