Dog owners sentenced in jogger's death, jogger's parents call fo - WNEM TV 5

Dog owners sentenced in jogger's death, jogger's parents call for judicial change for animal attacks

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LAPEER COUNTY, MI (WNEM/AP) -

A couple has been sentenced to 4-years and 9-months in the dog mauling death of a 46-year-old man who was attacked while jogging near their Lapeer County home.

Sebastiano Quagliata and his wife, Valbona Lucaj went before a judge in Lapeer County Circuit Court late Tuesday afternoon.

They faced second-degree murder charges before pleading no contest in April to owning a dangerous dog causing death. Both cane corsos and another dog from the property were later euthanized.

Lucaj's defense attorney, Sanford Shulman, said he they were hoping for a shorter sentence. 

"I thought it would be a lighter sentence," Shulman said. "However, the judge has spoken." 

The couple were facing a possible life sentence after the death of Craig Sytsma, Livonia.

He was attacked by two cane corsos last July in Metamora Township, 45 miles northwest of Detroit.

Sytsma's parents, Jackie and Richard Sytsma were in court during the sentencing.

"I have nightmares every night," Jackie Sytsma said. "The one dream that I have, I'm running. I am running to help him and I can't get to him." 

Richard Sytsma said the sentencing won't bring back his son, but he wants to see significant changes in how courts deal with animal attacks, especially when someone is killed.

The Lucaj and Quagliata were given credit for 340 days already served.

Lucaj, a native of Albania, and Quagliata, a native of Italy, could be deported after serving their sentences.

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