Puppy killer sentenced to 6 months for slashing throats

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HILLSBORO, Mo. -- A House Springs man will spend the next six months in jail after sentencing, Wednesday, on horrific animal cruelty charges. He slashed the throats of two puppies.

Kyle Busby walked into court wearing handcuffs, shackles, and the striped jumpsuit of a Jefferson County Jail inmate. His outfit won't change any time soon.

As he entered, we asked him why he slashed the throats of the two puppies in August of 2013. He ignored repeated questions, keeping his eyes forward as he entered the courtroom.

He had no response for us, and the reasoning he gave the judge apparently wasn't sufficient either. He was given twice the amount of time prosecutors even hoped: a one year sentence for animal cruelty on which he will serve at least six months.

Some who were in the courtroom gasped when the details of the case were spelled out by the judge, and some of those observers think even the unusually harsh sentence for an animal cruelty charge should have been tougher.

"He shouldn't be allowed out around anybody," Della Cordes said. "He should be in that jail over there for years for every puppy. One year for every puppy. So you think it wasn't enough? No. No. I don't. I'm sorry. They're puppies. To me they're like children."

It was 2013 when Busby killed the puppies. He claimed he was performing some sort of euthanasia that they were near death. But two adult dogs that he had were also in bad shape, having been given no food or water in the August heat.

"It was a very unfortunate case obviously," prosecutor Vic Melenbrink said. 'There were some pictures and it's not a pleasant situation obviously.'

It was made worse, in the eyes of both the judge and investigators, by the fact there were so many ways he could have spared the puppies.

"They're puppies," Jefferson County Animal Control Manager J.T. Taylor said with frustration in his voice. "There were options as the judge said. He had the opportunity to take the dog to a vet. He had the opportunity us, or contact the Humane Society of Missouri, or any number of local animal rescue organizations would have been more than happy to jump in and help."

He did none of that, and he also tried to avoid the case altogether. The trial was scheduled for last year, but Busby ran for it, heading out of state when the trial was supposed to begin. He was captured when he came back to town.

All of this was mentioned by the judge, who administered what is described as about as harsh a sentence as a municipal court can give by some courtroom observers.

That one woman in the audience we spoke to, Della Cordes, says there's another reason he "had it coming." A relative of hers was in jail with Busby, and she says he actually boasted about cutting the puppies' throats.

"He bragged about what he done. He showed no remorse in jail over it."

The only thing prosecutors asked for that they didn't get was an order for a mental evaluation.

"When you have a situation like this you're never quite sure if there's an underlying issue," Melenbrink said. "Obviously it would be good if Mr. Busby was able to be a productive member of society and eventually turn things around, and if treatment would help him do that that would be something we'd like to see."

The judge didn't order it because he couldn't be certain the county would pay for it.