LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A pit bull puppy named Halo made headlines after law enforcement officials say he suffered severe, life-threatening injuries in December 2013.
21-year-old Tyler Sanders of Lake Charles pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals during a case management conference Thursday, and animal welfare advocates and rescuers say the verdict is just the beginning of putting an end to animal cruelty, and it's time for Halo to embark on a new life.
"He's a completely different dog than when I first got him," said president of the Lake Charles Pit Bull Rescue Renee Smith. "He was terrified of everybody and everything, and now, he loves everyone."
Halo's undergone both physical and emotional therapy after law enforcement say he suffered broken bones, a fractured skull and multiple pellet gun wounds last year. Now, Halo spends his time with eyes wide open, playing outside and showing signs of improvement every day.
Smith, who has had custody of Halo after he was picked up by Calcasieu Parish Animal Services, says although the verdict is considered a "win" for animal advocates, she says it's considered closure for Halo and time to let him begin his new and healthy life.
"A lot of people feel sorry for Halo and what he went through," said Smith. "But the most important thing for people to focus on now is that he's happy, he's healthy, and he's going to live a great life."
With over 4,000 likes on Facebook, Halo appears to be making progress day by day. Smith says as Halo begins his new life, Halo's story will never be forgotten.
"He has taught people a lot of love and compassion, and he's done some wonderful things already in his wonderful, little, short life."
Sanders will serve 10 years in the Louisiana Department of Corrections with 5 years suspended. He was also ordered to pay $5,000 in fines in addition to restitution for veterinary costs for Halo's care and recovery.