Advocates celebrate life of Sterling the dog, brutally killed in Utica

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On a snowy and cold Sunday night, people gathered at Grant Park in Utica to honor Sterling, not far from where the dog was found stabbed to death late last month.

“We didn't expect this great of a turn out to be honest, especially with our Michigan weather, so this has been totally overwhelming,” vigil organizer Cathy Ludwig said.

On January 29 Crime Stoppers and Utica Police held a press conference offering a reward and asked for tips. One day later, 22-year-old Alexander Gerth was arrested for the murder of Sterling.

“I can't understand how anyone could do something like that,” Lauren Farley said. 

“It's not about him it's about the dog. It's about the animal who went through all through all this pain and suffering,” Joseph Belisle said. 

Investigators are not disclosing a motive; however they revealed that this was a viscous crime.

“Nobody or human should have to endure that,” Belisle said. 

Gerth was charged with animal cruelty but people attending the vigil say there's a need for the laws to be changed regarding animal cruelty.

“The laws have to be changed to fit the crime, right now they're not,” Belisle said.

If Gerth is convicted he will only have to serve a maximum of four years behind bars.