Animal Cruelty sentencing

Jessie Woodruff, who pleaded guilty to starving his dog in 2011, appears in Superior Court on Tuesday. After this photo was taken, his sentencing hearing was rescheduled for July 10.

A Longview man who allowed his dog to starve to death will serve 6 months either in jail or electronic home monitoring depending on the outcome of an interview with Offender Services.

Jessie Howard Woodruff, 30, pleaded guilty June 21 to first-degree animal cruelty between Aug. 25, 2010, and Sept. 7, 2011.

"In 2011, in Cowlitz County, Wash., I had a pet dog that I failed to feed. This caused my dog pain, and my dog died," he wrote in his guilty plea.

A neighbor reported the neglect of Woodruff's 5-year-old golden retriever mix, Lil Miss, to the Cowlitz County Humane Society, but it was too late to save her.

Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning reset Woodruff's sentencing to 1 p.m., July 10 to give Offender Services a chance to prepare a report. Woodruff was supposed to be sentenced Tuesday, but defense attorney Thad Scudder requested home monitoring due to Woodruff's poor health. Woodruff had a kidney transplant as a teenager and requires dialysis three times a week.

Both Scudder and deputy prosecutor Jason Laurine told Warning that Woodruff has a brain injury that affects his memory.

"The defendant is going to be prevented ... from ever possessing animals," Laurine said. "We think that's absolutely appropriate. No animal will suffer from his inability to remember."

"Mr. Woodard does have fairly significant limitations," Scudder said. "Even prior to his brain injury, he functioned at a fairly limited level. I don't think there was any malice (in not feeding the dog). It was simply a case of neglect."

Woodruff chose not to make a statement in court.

"It's a shame that his responsibilities were not more in line with his abilities," Warning said before rescheduling the sentencing.

Animal control officer Mike Nicholson of the Humane Society may make a statement in court at next week's sentencing if he chooses. But outside the courtroom, Nicholson questioned why Woodruff's girlfriend, who must have been aware of his poor memory, didn't make sure Woodruff followed through with caring for the dog.

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