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Rhode Island man gets prison time for fatally beating neighbor's small dog with cane

CRANSTON, R.I. -- A Rhode Island man will serve four months in state prison followed by eight months in home confinement for the beating death of his neighbor’s 10-pound Yorkshire terrier.

Sixty-year-old Nicola Patalano was found guilty of felony malicious injury in November for his role in the 2014 death of Missy.

The state attorney general’s office said because the crime happened in 2014 Patalano was sentenced under an old statute. The maximum penalty for killing an animal was increased in 2016 to five years, CBS Providence affiliate WPRI-TV reports.

Prosecutors say Missy’s owner was walking the dog when the Yorkie started barking at Patalano’s terrier, prompting the Cranston man to repeatedly strike the small dog with his wooden cane.

He knocked Missy unconscious, and she became unresponsive. A neighbor who witnessed the incident accompanied Missy’s owner to an animal hospital, where the dog was pronounced dead.

Police say Patalano told officers he “hit the dog to kill it.”

Patalano also was sentenced to community service and assessed fines.

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