A Norwalk man was sentenced Friday to 180 days (six months) in jail on the work release program in connection with threatening his wife as well as shooting and killing her two puppies.
Michael J. Hoyt, 44, of 866 N. New State Road, must report to jail at 7 a.m. Dec. 3 to begin serving his sentence.
He was convicted Friday of one count of domestic violence and two animal cruelty charges in connection with the late August incidents.
On Friday, Hoyt changed his plea from not guilty to no contest on one of the domestic violence charges, a first-degree misdemeanor and on the animal cruelty charges, both first-degree misdemeanors. In exchange, the state dropped the other domestic violence charge, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel has said after Hoyt shot the dogs, he pointed the handgun at his wife and threatened to harm her.
"I don't believe there was any physical harm (to her). I think there was some shoving," Christophel said.
Huron County Sheriff's Capt. Ted Patrick has said Hoyt denied pointing the handgun at his wife, "but that's what she's alleging."
Sheriff's dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call at 7:08 p.m. about a domestic dispute at Hoyt's home. Christophel said it started out as a "verbal altercation," but declined to elaborate. Patrick said there was a confrontation about a suspected extramarital affair, Hoyt became upset, went outside and shot the two white Yorkie puppies.
Three deputies responded and reported they arrested the suspect and transported him to the Huron County Jail without incident. Prior to the deputies' arrival, Hoyt had unloaded the gun and left it on the porch, Patrick said.
"When they arrived, he was sitting on the tailgate of his pickup truck," Patrick said.
Hoyt was released later after posting a $5,000 bond.
Norwalk Municipal Court Judge John Ridge issued a temporary protection order while the case was pending.
On Friday, Ridge fined Hoyt $300 on the domestic violence charge, in addition to court costs of $88.24. Ridge sentenced him to 180 days on the charge and suspended that sentence. The judge placed Hoyt on five years of probation. He must not have any convictions during that time and he must show proof of six months of mental health counseling by Nov. 16, 2013. Hoyt cannot associate with the victim for five years, during which time he also cannot touch or possess a firearm. Ridge gave Hoyt 180 days to pay his fine and court costs.
Under one of the animal cruelty charges, in addition to imposing the jail term, Ridge fined Hoyt $250 plus $46 in court costs, which he must pay in 180 days.
Under the second animal cruelty charge, Ridge imposed a suspended 180-day jail term and fined Hoyt $250 plus $36 in court costs. He must pay the fine and costs within 180 days.
As part of the defendant's five years of probation, he cannot have any convictions during that time and he cannot possess any companion animals for five years, nor can he live in a residence during that time where pets live. Hoyt also is forbidden from touching or possessing a firearm during that time.