Dog’s Justice Delayed, Not Denied
Joshua Hook Sentenced to Jail for Animal Torture, Cruelty
By Dianne Alward-Biery
Cleaver Staff Writer
Copyright Clare County Cleaver
HARRISON – Justice for a trusting dog that had been mutilated and tortured by its owner has been a long time coming. Joshua Aaron Hook of Harrison, the owner of the dog [at the time was named Budweiser] was arrested and arraigned in June 2017. He was charged with one count of Animals Killing/Torturing (without just cause, knowingly mutilate, or disfigure a dog). That crime is a felony punishable by four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Hook was also charged with one count of Animals-abandoning/cruelty to one animal, a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 93 days and a $1,000 fine. A third charge of resisting and obstructing a police officer is a felony which could bring Hook two years of jail and/or a $2,000 fine.
Hook’s bond was set at $80,000/10 percent or cash surety, and he has remained lodged at the Clare County Jail since June.
After severing ties with multiple attorneys for trial dates in October, November and January, a last-opportunity trial date was set for March.
Finally, as stated in the adjacent release from Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis, Hook has had his day in court, was sentenced March 19 for Attempted Animal Killing/Torturing, along with other crimes.
Due to the fact that the animal itself was evidence in the trial, over the many months prior to the trial the dog has resided at the Clare County Animal Shelter.
Rudi Hicks, director of Animal Control, provided the Cleaver with a description of the dog, both physically and by demeanor.
“He’s a lovely dog,” Hicks said. “He’s probably 2, looks like a German shorthaired pointer, kind of. Nice dog. We named him Remi His name is Budweiser – we hated it, and Remi stuck. He’ll grin at you when you go out there; he loves everybody. I think ‘You have no reason to like anyone, and you love everyone.’”
Hicks described the day the initial evidence photos were taken, showing the damage to Remi’s nose, which had been sliced off with a knife.
“He was heartbroken,” Hicks said. “He found the dog, went and got it.”
Hicks kept going back to the injustice of such vicious treatment of a mild-mannered, engaging dog.
“He’s such a sweet dog,” she said. “For somebody to have done what that guy did to that dog... He was torturing him, over a period of days. He had wounds that were 36 hours old, and some that were more like 18 hours old, and fresh ones.”
Now Remi’s story will change for the better, as he leaves the shelter by the end of the week to begin training with Northern Michigan K9.
“When they came to evaluate Remi today, they said they had never seen a dog with as much drive as this dog has,” Hicks said.
She said that Brian Gregory of Northern Michigan K9 plans to chronicle Remi’s progression through his training and placement, with the expectation that Remi will become an excellent police dog. If toughness and perseverance count, that should be a pretty good bet.
Hook Sentenced to Consecutive Terms
Clare County Prosecutor release
Joshua Aaron Hook, 29, of Harrison, Mich.
On June 3, 2017, Clare County Animal Control Officers Ruanne Hicks and Robert Dodson responded to a Hayes Township residence to investigate a severely injured dog. Hicks and Dodson were able to secure and transport the dog to Clare Animal Hospital for treatment. Clare Animal Hospital’s Dr. Gaw, with the assistance of Clare Animal Hospital on-call staff, performed emergency surgery and provided treatment for the dog.
Through the investigation, Joshua Hook was determined to be the owner of the injured dog. And, on June 7, 2017, Joshua Aaron Hook, 29, of Harrison, Michigan was charged with one count of felony Animal Killing/Torturing which carries a maximum punishment of 4 years in prison and one count of Misdemeanor Animal Abandoning/Cruelty to One Animal which is punishable to a maximum 93 days in jail. (55th Circuit Court, Clare County Case #17-005627-FH).
While being served the felony warrant for Animal Killing/Torturing on June 14, 2017, Hook resisted and obstructed Clare County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Weakman and was charged with Resisting and Obstructing a Police Officer which is a felony that carries the maximum of 2 years in prison. (55th Circuit Court, Clare County Case #17-005628-FH).
While Hook was incarcerated in the Clare County jail awaiting trials in these two felony cases, Clare County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sharp investigated an incident involving Hook who assaulted another jail inmate on January 7, 2018. As a result of that investigation, on Feb. 15, 2018, Hook was charged with Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm less than Murder or by Strangulation. (55th Circuit Court, Clare County Case #18-005777-FH).
Clare County Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Ambrozaitis assigned Chief Assistant Prosecutor Eilisia G. Schwarz and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Santini to prepare the three felony cases for trial. On Feb. 20, 2018, Hook pled no contest to Attempted Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm less than Murder or by Strangulation, Attempted Animal Killing/Torturing, and Lying to a Peace Officer Conducting Investigation of a Crime Punishable by 4 years or more. At that hearing, Hook released ownership to the dog to Animal Control.
On March 19, 2018, Hook was sentenced in the 55th Circuit Court for Clare County, Michigan by the Honorable Thomas R. Evans. At sentencing, Clare County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Eilisia G. Schwarz requested that the court order Hook to serve his sentence in case No. 18-005777-FH consecutive to the sentences imposed by the Court in case No. 17-005627-FH and No. 17-005628-FH. Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Schwarz also requested that the Court to order Hook pay restitution in the amount of $5,155.15 to the Clare Animal Hospital and the Clare County Animal Control. She also relayed the statements of the victim in the Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm less than Murder or by Strangulation incident to the Court for consideration before sentencing Hook.
Judge Evans agreed with Chief Assistant Prosecutor Schwarz and the Court sentenced Hook in case Nos. 17-005627-FH and 17-005628-FH to serve 16 months to 24 months in prison concurrently, with credit for 278 days already served. Hook was ordered to pay $68 in state costs, a $130 crime victim’s assessment, $500 in fines, $500 in costs, $600 for court appointed attorney fee reimbursement, $2,525.25 to the Clare Animal Hospital, and $2,630.00 to the Clare County Animal Control.
In #18-005777-FH, Judge Evans sentenced Hook to 23 months to 60 months in prison to be served after Hook completes serving his sentences in #17-005627-FH and #17-005628-FH. Hook was also ordered to pay $68 in state costs, a $130 crime victim’s assessment, $500 in fines, $500 in costs, and court appointed attorney fee reimbursement of $600.
At this time, the dog is being evaluated for placement with the Northern Michigan K9 Police Dog Service Program in Harrison, Mich., and with Dogs in Honor, a Veterans Service Dog Program in Antrim County, Mich.
A special thank you to the Clare County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement and corrections officers, Clare County Animal Control, Clare Animal Hospital, Clare County Animal Shelter Volunteers, United States Humane Society Animal Crimes/Cruelty Unit, and all those who worked hard on this investigation.