UPDATE, JULY 25, 8:56 A.M.: 51-year-old Michael Stuart Patterson just couldn't take the barking anymore, so after kicking open the front door of his Mission Viejo neighbor's home while yelling, “I'm going to kill you, and I'm going to kill your dog,” he confronted Honey on the back patio and, armed with a garden rake, violently whacked the 5-year-old German Shepherd, permanently blinding the dog.
The counts Patterson faced could have had him in the doghouse–actually, a state prison cell–for six years. He got 180 days in jail instead.
Patterson, who originally entered a not-guilty plea, pleaded guilty Thursday to one felony count of first degree residential burglary and one felony count of animal cruelty. His sentence reads four years in state prison, but that time is stayed pending successful completion of three years of formal probation (and, hopefully, an anger management class or three).
He must also pay restitution, although the amount has not yet been determined. It's to be decided Oct. 13 at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.
Wonder how much dog blinding goes for these days?
UPDATE, NOV. 19, 2010, 2:33 P.M.: Mission Viejo 51-year-old Michael Stuart Patterson pleaded not guilty to one felony count of first degree
residential burglary and one felony count of animal cruelty in the beating and blinding of a German Shepherd with a metal rake.
Meanwhile, a neighbor says he heard something that probably won't help Patterson's case.
Phillip De Labio heard Patterson yelling, “I'm going to kill you, and I'm going to kill your dog” as Patterson was knocking on
the door of another neighbor who owns the dog, Honey.
“Why would he do something like this?” Bill Daly, Honey's master, later asked an Orange County Register reporter. “If he doesn't' want to confront me personally, he can put a note on my door.”
Daly said he knows Honey barks a lot but that he had not received a complaint since adopting the dog off a Craigslist ad in April. Mission Viejo animal services also tell the Reg they never received a complaint about Honey's barking.
[ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 18, 2010, 3:33 P.M.: A
51-year-old Mission Viejo man who'd apparently had enough of a
5-year-old German Shepherd's barking is accused of kicking open his
neighbor's front door while people were away Tuesday afternoon, picking
up a metal garden rake and repeatedly hitting the dog. Honey suffered
puncture wounds in the face and permanent vision loss.
The loss for Michael Stuart Patterson could be up to six years and eight months in
state prison if he is convicted of all charges against him.
Patterson was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon on one felony count of first degree
residential burglary and one felony count of animal cruelty. The Orange County District Attorney's Office arraignment statement follows:
November 18, 2010
MAN CHARGED WITH BREAKING INTO NEIGHBOR'S HOME AND ATTACKING GERMAN SHEPHERD WITH YARD RAKE
SANTA ANA – A disgruntled man has been charged with breaking into his
neighbor's home and attacking a German Shepherd with a yard rake after
becoming angry over the dog's barking. Michael Stuart Patterson, 51,
Mission Viejo, is charged with one felony count of first degree
residential burglary and one felony count of animal cruelty. If
convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of six years and eight months in
state prison. Patterson's bail will be set today, Thursday, Nov. 18,
2010, at his arraignment at 3:00 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail,
At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2010, Patterson is accused of
breaking into the home of his neighbor, William D., by kicking open the
front door while the neighbor wasn't home. He is accused of being angry
that William D.'s 5-year-old German Shepherd, Honey, barked frequently
when his neighbor was not home.
Patterson is accused of finding the dog on the back patio of the home of
attacking it with a yard rake. He is accused of hitting the dog,
causing puncture wounds to the dog's face. Patterson then left the
Another neighbor heard the noise from the attack, wrote down the
defendant's license plate number, and called the police. In addition to
the puncture wounds, Honey suffered a permanent loss of vision.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before "graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.