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Family 'glad' man who attacked their dog was denied parole

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The Ontario Parole Board denied the early release request of Wyatt Sturgeon, the man who used an axe to mortally wound a dog last May 1 in Owen Sound.

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On March 5, Candace Dean urged parole board members to deny early release to Sturgeon, who is serving an 18-month sentence, to be followed by three years probation.

She and her husband, Martin Dean, learned this week Sturgeon will be kept in custody. “We were glad. We were glad that he had the opportunity to hopefully get better and hopefully things will settle down around him,” she said Friday.

Sturgeon could appeal the parole board’s decision and if he does, Dean said they would again be notified of this and they would again oppose any early release.

Sturgeon is serving is sentence in Brockville at the St. Lawrence Treatment and Correctional Centre.

In October, Sturgeon, 24, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to cruelty to animals by willfully causing unnecessary pain to a dog; breaking into a house while possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose; carrying a weapon, an axe, to commit an offence, and assault for attempting to punch a man in Owen Sound the same day.

That last offence concerned what court heard was an unprovoked attempt to punch a man who fended him off in the Deans’neighbourhood, prior to breaking into their west-side home.

Once inside, Sturgeon struck blows with a hatchet-sized axe on their beloved dog Gus’s head, requiring him to be euthanized.

The couple, who’d arrived home to discover what had happened, were profoundly hurt by the experience. Vigils and protests followed news of the brutal and bloody attack.

Dean took with them to the parole board hearing nearly 40 letters from people who share her hope that Sturgeon would serve his full sentence. She said she’s grateful for the community members who wrote those letters.

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