SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - WARNING: The dashcam video may be disturbing to some viewers and contains very strong language.
A former Sulphur police officer who shot and killed a dog while on the job two years ago was sentenced today to one year of probation.
Judge David Ritchie also sentenced Brian Thierbach to five, 8-hour days of community service plus a fine of $250, or serve 10 days in jail.
Thierbach previously pleaded no contest to misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Thierbach shot and killed the dog, Arzy Kensington, while investigating a trespassing complaint at the Southwest Daily News in 2014, after two men and a dog were seen hanging around the parking lot. The dog's owner, Brandon Carpenter, and another man, Logan Laliberte, were traveling by train to visit friends in Lake Charles and took shelter in one of the newspaper's box trucks when it began to rain.
Carpenter and Laliberte, both from Maine, were charged with vehicular trespassing and released hours later.
Carpenter and a Southwest Daily News employee, Eric Midkiff, both told KPLC that the dog was not aggressive toward Thierbach.
Carpenter reiterated that statement in court Thursday, saying Arzy was the best thing he owned. Arzy never threatened Thierbach, only brushed his leg, Carpenter said.
After court, Carpenter and his attorney said the Sulphur Police dash cam video from Thierbach's car support their position.
You can hear Carpenter's voice on the dash cam video, obviously distraught after Arzy was killed before his eyes. He says he still suffers after seeing his dog die before his eyes.
Mobile users, click here to watch the full dashcam video.
"I have a sudden outburst of crying. I'll be watching a father and son playing and I'll just start crying my eyes out. I'll be watching a movie about a love story and start crying. I almost want to cry right now," said Carpenter.
Alyson Antoon is Carpenter's attorney.
"You can tell there are no sounds of aggression from the dog; the dog never even barks, nothing. You can see in the initial encounter the dog is wagging his tail," she said.
The video also shows Carpenter and his friend being arrested for trespassing. Arzy appears to be moving around Thierbach and then a shot is fired.
Thierbach is heard to say something about the dog biting his foot, though a witness said the dog was not aggressive. Photos show the dog was tied up.
"There was a dash camera video that showed the dog was not aggressive, there was an independent third party witness that witnessed the whole thing and has consistently maintained that the dog was not aggressive and did not bite. The dog was also tied up on a leash when he was shot,"said Antoon.
Carpenter said it just didn't need to happen the way it did.
"I was doing something wrong that I should not have been doing. The officer showed up and because he did not like me and my lifestyle and whatever; he was having a bad day; he decided to shoot my dog in the face for no reason because he's a mean person, and that's what he did," said Carpenter.
In court, Thierbach apologized, saying that he loves dogs and is sorry for the heartache he has caused. Ritchie said he watched the video and found it inconclusive as to whether Thierbach was threatened.
Carpenter said he is forgiving, but that Thierbach had never apologized.
When Thierbach spoke, he apologized, saying that he loves dogs, but he was sent to the location to investigate a crime in progress and that he followed training. Thierbach said he is sorry for the heartache he has caused and wants to close this chapter in his life.
Ritchie said the video shows the dog coming right at Thierbach. Ritchie said he saw Thierbach's reaction and concern as the dog approached him, but he could not tell whether Thierbach was threatened.
The evidence was inconclusive as to whether Thierbach was threatened, Ritchie said.
Ritchie said he had never heard Carpenter apologize for trespassing and that Thierbach was investigating a crime scene.
When Ritchie said he was shocked at Carpenter's lack of responsibility, Carpenter began to blurt out a comment, but was chastised by the judge.
Officers are constantly second-guessed, Ritchie said, and when Thierbach approached the crime scene, he didn't know what it involved. He said it was appropriate for Thierbach to approach with his weapon drawn.
Ritchie said he believes that the no contest plea to misdemeanor animal cruelty is appropriate because he does not consider what Thierbach did to be deliberate.
Ritchie mentioned the large amount of interest the case has garnered, saying he wishes people were as interested in human suffering.