By Bill Raack/AP
St. Louis, MO – A Kansas City judge has sentenced a St. Louis County man to three years probation for beating his family dog to death with a sledgehammer. 34-year-old Micael Welch of Affton pleaded guilty last year. The case was moved to Kansas City because it triggered an outcry from animal lovers. Welch could have received up to five years in prison for the killing of Dusty, a Dalmation-Labrador mix. Jackson County Circuit Judge Preston Dean cited a desire to keep Welch from losing his job as a truck driver in granting probation.