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Man pleads no contest to killing, torturing Sterling the dog in Utica

Posted: 11:44 AM, Mar 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-18 20:53:49Z

MT. CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The man charged with killing and torturing Sterling the dog in Utica earlier this year has pleaded no contest to the charges.

Alexander Gerth was charged with killing and torturing an animal in the stabbing death of his 2-year-old pit bull mix, Sterling.

Sterling was found underneath a picnic table on Jan. 24, 2019, in Grant Park in below-freezing temperatures. There was a trail of blood from a nearby trash can to the location where Sterling died.

“Sterling was maliciously tortured and left to die in the elements,” Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said in a release. “My office is fully committed to prosecuting every animal abuse case to the fullest extent under the law.”

In December 2018, the Michigan legislature passed a new law that increases penalties associated with the abuse of animals, and it goes into effect for all crimes committed after March 28, 2019.

“Gerth was charged with most severe charge on the books at the time,” Smith said. “Thankfully, the legislature recently modified the penalty for this charge, making it a 10-year felony. Unfortunately, the change did not go into effect in time for Sterling.”

Gerth will be sentenced on April 23.