Former ASU football player gets jail term in animal-cruelty case

A Goodyear man and former Arizona State University football player was arrested Saturday on suspicion of animal cruelty after being accused of breaking the family dog’s neck and placing him in a smoker, according to court documents. Wochit

A Goodyear man and former Arizona State University football player received a six-month jail term to be followed by probation after breaking his family dog’s neck and putting the poodle in an industrial-size smoker earlier this year.

Patrick Zane Thompson, 42, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and assault charges on Aug. 25.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Brad Astrowsky on Thursday sentenced Thompson to six months in a Maricopa County jail, where he will be able to participate in a work-release program. Astrowsky said Thompson also will serve three-year and one-year terms of probation on his charges when he is released from jail.

Thompson may not have custody or ownership of any animal during his probation, Astrowsky said.

Prosecutor Casy Mundell called this “one of the more heinous cases I have seen.”

“This was an extremely dangerous situation,” Mundell said. “It went very badly; it could’ve gone even more badly.”

Thompson’s wife, Sharon, and daughter Bryonne were present for the sentencing and both spoke before Astrowsky issued his decision.

“I truly believe he’s learned his lesson and he’s remorseful for his actions,” Sharon Thompson said. “We need him. My children miss him, I miss him.”

Thompson has been attending mental health and marriage counseling since May, according to his attorney, Jose Montano.

Thompson initially was held on two felony and four misdemeanor counts relating to the death of his family’s poodle, police documents showed.

A necropsy report on the dog, Sparky, showed he died from smoke inhalation and not by strangulation. Sparky was still alive when Thompson put him in the smoker, the report said.

“As far as the incident goes, I am very remorseful and apologetic for my actions and behavior,” Thompson said. “The animal that was hurt, that was my buddy.”

Police were called to the 16000 block of West Mohave Street in Goodyear on May 15 where they found Thompson on the sidewalk with a self-inflicted gash in his arm, police documents said.

Police said family members told them that Thompson had begun to act erratically.  Thompson allegedly said in front of his wife and four children that after reading the Bible, he realized he had to sacrifice a male — either himself, his 6-year-old son or the family dog.

Thompson grabbed the dog and broke its neck while his family pleaded with him to stop, police said.  The family left the house and notified police.

Police found the dog dead in the smoker.  Thompson told officers that he had smoked marijuana earlier in the day and began having an “episode,” court documents said.  Both attorneys and Astrowsky agreed that marijuana was likely not the only factor in play given the magnitude of the incident and Thompson’s state of mind at the time of the arrest.

The smoker was contained in a truck in Thompson’s back yard, documents showed.  Thompson told Astrowsky he has three different smokers he uses for his catering business, and he no longer “primarily” uses the one that Sparky was killed in to cook food.

Thompson played right guard on ASU’s 1996 football team. The Sun Devils went 11-1 on the season and lost the Rose Bowl game to Ohio State University.

[Source Story: HumansLovingAnimals ]