A Mid-Michigan man accused of fatally shooting two dogs pled guilty to his charges.
Hershel Ray Tallent, 78, was charged after an incident that happened on Thursday, Dec. 27 in Lapeer County’s Marathon Township.
The county animal control authority was called to investigate animal cruelty complaints at the man’s home after a puppy was hit by a car and then thrown by its owner.
The Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office said Tallent pulled out a gun and fired it at two of his dogs leashed to a dog house, killing them.
"We actually made an offer to him to help him to take the dogs if he was having trouble. But he never even discussed it with us. He just started shooting his dogs," said Dave Eady, with Lapeer County Animal Control.
The man refused to put his gun down, which led to a police standoff.
One of the responding deputies drew a taser and ordered the suspect to get on the ground.
The suspect again refused and lunged toward a deputy stating, “shoot me.”
Deputies said they were forced to use the taser three times on Tallent before arresting him.
"We never expected that. We have had incidents at this house. Loose animals running in neighbors' yards, things like that. I don't know why he decided he wanted to shoot his adult dogs. I'm glad he didn't continue with the puppies," Eady said.
Four guns and 10 malnourished puppies were seized from the suspect’s home.
The puppies were taken to the Lapeer County shelter, where nine were adopted. The only puppy left suffered a broken leg.
On Dec. 28, Tallent was charged with the following: two counts of killing/torturing an animal, three counts of felony firearm (possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony), and three counts of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer.
Because Tallent was previously convicted of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer in 1989, he was charged as a habitual offender, increasing the maximum punishment to one-and-one-half times the maximum sentence.
Tallent appeared in court for a probable cause conference on Friday, Jan. 25 where Judge Laura Barnard reduced his bond. He has since posted bond.
On Friday, Feb. 8, Tallent pleaded guilty to killing/torturing an animal and two misdemeanors of attempted resisting, and obstructing an officer.
His killing/torturing of an animal charge, three charges of felony firearms, and attempted resisting and obstructing an officer charges were all dismissed.
Tallent was sentenced on April 1 at 1:30 p.m. in circuit court. He was sentenced to a year of probation, fines and costs, and he cannot own animals ever again, according to the Lapeer County Circuit Court Clerk.