HARRISVILLE - Former U.S. Marine Corps solider Tim Pawloski was sentenced to three years of probation Monday for a felony charge of cruelty to six horses and three dogs. The maximum penalty could have been two years in prison and hundreds of hours of community service.
At the Alcona County Courthouse, 23rd Circuit Court Judge William Myles said Pawloski would remain free as long as he does not possess, have contact with or care for animals. Pawloski also must take his prescribed medicine, and is prohibited from possessing a gun, committing acts of violence or using his checking account.
Pawloski was fined court costs and ordered to pay restitution of $916 to a Lincoln veterinary clinic that treated some of the abused animals. Two of the horses eventually died.
In exchange, a charge of torturing and killing animals, which carried a four-year prison sentence, was dropped.
When asked if he had any questions, the 32-year-old challenged a pre-sentencing report that indicated he is on prescription medications.
He also asked if his fiancee, whom he did not identify, could keep animals at his house when she moves in. Pawloski lives on rental property outside Glennie.
The judge said no.
Alcona County Prosecutor Tom Weichel said Pawloski's former commander in Afghanistan, a lieutenant colonel, contacted his office twice before Monday's sentencing.
Although Weichel didn't identify the lieutenant colonel by name, "he made it abundantly clear Pawloski had problems before entering the service," the prosecutor said. "His exact statement was, please make sure Mr. Pawloski doesn't play the VA card at sentencing."
Weichel also wanted Pawloski cautioned that violence against another person was a probation violation, because one the man's girlfriends accused him of hurting her while he was on bond.
When the animal abuse came to light last spring after neighbors complained, Pawloski said he didn't have any money to pay for animal feed, although he was receiving $3,000 a month in tax free disability payments from the Veteran's Administration at the time. He also said the animals belonged to a girlfriend and other individuals.
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