COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -A north Idaho family has waited months for justice for the man they say killed their dog, Hank.
But the whole time, that man has denied he ever did anything wrong, even with the veterinarian saying this was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty they’d ever seen.
Last week, a jury agreed, convicting 23-year old Austin Mattot for the death of Hank.
“When the juror came back and it only took them a short amount of time to come to their verdict and to have them read that guilty verdict was really such a relief that it all wasn't for nothing,” Jennifer Cook said.
Mattot was initially charged with two misdemeanors, cruelty to animals and beating or harassing animals.
Both charges together could warrant a one-year sentence behind bars.
“You can get a misdemeanor for jaywalking, it's a lot bigger than that to have the rage to beat a dog to death, it shouldn't just be a slap on the wrists,” Dakota Goin said.
Hanks injuries were severe; Dakota says the dog had blunt force trauma to his head, internal bleeding and a total of 13 broken ribs.
KHQ obtained a statement from the veterinarian in the case who said Hank’s injuries were similar to that of being hit by a car or falling from three stories or more.
Jennifer and Dakota hope this recent verdict can help change Idaho’s laws.
They’ve partnered with local senators and attorneys to create Hank’s Law, a proposed bill that would make animal cruelty in Idaho a felony.
“In the future if anyone else ever has to go through this that it will be a more severe punishment and maybe a person would think twice before they decide to do what Matott did,” Cook said.
Matott will be sentenced in June.