Eastpointe man seen in dog beating video found guilty of animal torture

- An Eastpointe man seen on video slamming his pet dog's head into a brick wall has been found guilty of animal torture.

John Sporer was arrested and charged after a video surfaced in February of 2016 that showed a man kicking, punching, and slamming a dog's head into a brick wall. Prosecutors argued the man in the video is 24-year-old Sporer, and the dog was his 3-year-old mastiff, Meatball.

Sporer was charged with animal torture, a felony, animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, and another misdemeanor for not having a dog license. A jury found him guilty Wednesday on all three counts.

"I feel relieved, I feel like justice definitely was done," said Dana Goldberg, Macomb County assistant prosecutor.  "And the jury, they saw it all and they use their common sense."

After suffering head trauma and broken ribs, the dog named Meatball, has a loving new home and has made a full recovery. Meatball wasn't allowed in the courtroom but he waited patiently in the lobby to meet the jurors and prosecutors who brought him justice.

"Animals were put on this earth to give us something," said Randy Iadipaolo, a member of the jury. "Not to be beaten and abused and left for dead."

"When they came out here saw a Meatball and took pictures with him, I'm going to start to cry but it was amazing," said Karen Cameron, Meatball's owner.

Sporer now faces up to four years in prison for what he did, found guilty of one felony count of animal torture, along with two misdomenor counts of animal abuse and failure to have a dog license. 

The attacks caught on a neighbor's cell phone lasted 20 minutes. 

The defense had argued that Sporer reacted appropriately after Meatball bit him, but the man who recorded the video said he never saw the dog bite Sporer.

Meatball is in the care of a new owner now, Karen Cameron. Sporer is accused of causing trauma to the dog's head and breaking his ribs.

"He doesn't seem to have too much effects of abuse," Cameron told FOX 2. "Although, if you raise your voice or move quickly, he kind of ducks and squints his eyes and waits for the blows to come."

She and other animal rights activists sat through the three-day trial, waiting for the verdict to be read. The activists are hoping for Sporer to receive the maximum sentence of four years in prison.

"Unfortunately we have way too many animal abuse cases," said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith  "But we don't have too many that rise to the felony level like this one did.

Smith says his team continues to have zero tolerance for cases like this. 

"We don't plea bargain animal rights cases or animal abuse cases," Smith said. "So often, we have a victim, vandal abuse, and no one there to tell the story. But in this case, we had a video of it."

Sporer's sentencing is scheduled for February.

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