A 22-year-old McHenry man who pleaded guilty in July to beating his mother’s 10-pound dog with his fists, a dog chain and a back scratcher, breaking several ribs and causing contusions all over its body, was sentenced Thursday to 18 months of intensive probation.
Elijah Washington also was required to spend 180 days in jail, and as his mother cried in the courtroom, he was remanded.
He will receive credit for time served in jail after his arrest. When released on intensive probation, he will be required to abstain from drugs and alcohol, must undergo mental health evaluations and follow through on any recommendations made.
Washington’s mother, Donna Williams-Peela, said that although her son is about 6 feet 2 inches, weighs about 320 pounds and appears to be a grown man, he has the intellectual and emotional development of a teenager.
He was sexually abused as a young child, hit by an SUV which caused brain damage and had three heart attacks before he turned 18. He has the heart of an 86-year-old man and is due for another surgery on his heart Oct. 1, she said.
She said the dog, who survived the beating, is hers. When Washington was arrested, she let him stay in jail more than 60 days so he had time to “reflect.” She has a serious health condition and at the time he hurt the dog she was in the hospital. Her son thought she was going to die and was scared and stressed.
Although she did not excuse what he did. When released from jail, she would not speak to him, she said.
She loves her dog, but she also loves her son, she said, as she begged for leniency.
McHenry police officer Matthew Voelker said about 5 p.m. Aug. 29, 2018, he was called to Washington’s home. When he arrived he found the injured dog cowering in a corner and crying. When he tried to help the dog, would “scream out.” The dog, he said, was bloody, its eyes were swollen, was guarded and was protective of its two left legs.
Washington told the officer the dog had bit his niece and he became “enraged” and beat it.
The girl said the dog bit her when she was trying to put on his leash. The marks on her hand were minor and did not require medical attention, Voelker said.
Washington admitted to being a heavy drinker with no desire to stop, and to having behavioral and anger issues, claimed to have multiple personalities and to hear voices telling him to kill, Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Ann Scholl said. Scholl asked the judge to impose the maximum three year sentence, saying Washington is a danger to society.
McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt told Washington he believes he has had a rough life, “but your issues are no excuse for you, as you say, [to lose] it and beat a defenseless dog.”