CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article stated that Hagler's dog had been aggressive toward Hagler's roommate and her child. The dog was aggressive toward Hagler's roommate and the child of his girlfriend, who did not live at the Harrison Avenue home where he no longer lives.
RALEIGH -- A Cary man accused of stabbing his Siberian husky to death in May was sentenced Friday to 100 days in jail.
Douglas Joseph Hagler, a 47-year-old man facing animal cruelty charges, entered an Alford plea in Wake County Superior Court. In so doing, Hagler acknowledged that there was enough evidence to convict him though he was not willing to admit guilt.
His case sparked an outcry among animal rights advocates, who created a Facebook page called “Justice for Koda.” They circulated a petition and collected thousands of signatures.
Koda died while lashed to a tree, according to Cary town officials. The dog was stabbed 11 times and had three broken ribs.
Judge Graham Shirley ordered Hagler, a former resident of South Harrison Avenue in Cary, to undergo substance abuse treatment, stay away from dogs and comply with probation requirements for five years.
Charles Caldwell, the Raleigh lawyer representing Hagler, said his client was an alcoholic who could not remember stabbing the dog.
Koda, just over a year old when he died, had been aggressive toward Hagler’s girlfriend and her child, according to Caldwell.
The dog also attacked one of Hagler’s co-workers.
In the days leading up to Hagler’s arrest, his roommate, Ashley Collins, said Koda attacked her twice – May 7 around 4 p.m. and May 9 at 7 p.m. Collins said earlier this year that she did not know about Hagler’s stabbing the dog with a sword because she was at the hospital, being treated for dog-bite wounds.
The stabbing was reported after neighbors near the Hillcrest Cemetery at the end of Page Road heard an animal screaming and gagging at about 8 p.m. May 10.
“I want to report an animal abuse,” a 911 caller told an emergency dispatcher on a recording made public by the Cary Police Department. “I’ve got an animal screaming here. A dog, I believe.”
The 911 caller continued walking toward the screams that are clearly heard on the audio recording. The caller said he saw a man with a shaved head wielding a sword and stabbing a dog.
“What are you doing to that dog?” the man shouted. “Excuse me, what are you doing?
“He just stabbed the husky with a sword,” he said, turning his attention back to the dispatcher.
The 911 caller told the dispatcher that the man took off running toward Shirley Street, behind the cemetery.
The caller described the sword as a 30- to 36-inch long sword with a white, studded handle.
“He kept saying, ‘That dog’s a killer.’ He kept saying that,” the caller said.
As the 911 call was played in court on Friday, animal rights activists in the courtroom cried.