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Prison for former New Freedom man who killed 5-pound Yorkshire terrier

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Leo, a 5-pound Yorkshire terrier, died after being kicked in the head by his owner's then-boyfriend, Earl Allen, according to Southern Regional Police.

A former New Freedom man who killed his then-girlfriend's 5-pound Yorkshire terrier in 2018 has been ordered to serve prison time.

Earl Carl Allen appeared Monday in York County Court, where presiding Common Pleas Judge Michael E. Bortner sentenced him to 11½ to 23 months in York County Prison.

Allen, 53, now of the York area, must report to prison on March 25 and must pay $2,834 in restitution, according to court records.

The judge also ordered Allen to undergo a mental-health evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment or counseling.

It took jurors less than an hour on Nov. 7 to convict Allen of the third-degree felony of aggravated cruelty to animals/causing serious bodily injury or death, as well as the second-degree misdemeanor of cruelty to animals.

Defense attorney George Marros said Allen has always maintained he didn't mean to hurt Leo the Yorkie and has expressed remorse all along.

"We've always maintained it was an accident," Marros told The York Dispatch. "Unfortunately, we were hoping for a sentence of probation or ... house arrest. But I believe Judge Bortner handed down a fair sentence."

That's because state sentencing guidelines suggested a minimum sentence of two or three years, he noted.

The background: Allen gave investigating Patrolman Paul Heffner of Southern Regional Police several versions of what happened that led to the death of Leo in the North Third Street home in New Freedom where Allen lived at the time, court documents state.

Earl Carl Allen

According to those documents, a slightly out of breath Allen called his then-girlfriend as she was driving home from work about 3:45 p.m. April 23, 2018, and told her something was wrong with Leo, her 9-year-old Yorkie.

The woman rushed home and found Leo with a large blood clot in his ear, police said.

"Leo was motionless with his eyes open," Heffner wrote in court documents.

The girlfriend asked Allen to drive her and Leo to Prettyboy Animal Hospital in Freeland, Maryland, but she ended up driving herself because Allen declined, police said.

Despite CPR efforts at the animal hospital, Leo died, according to police, who said the treating veterinarian determined the Yorkie's skull was fractured.

Prime suspect: Allen quickly became the primary suspect because he was the only person home at the time, according to Heffner.

Initially, Allen claimed he was cooking, heard the dogs in the house barking, went upstairs to investigate and found Leo lying at the bathroom door, documents state.

"His story varied then," Heffner wrote, and Allen said he was in his bedroom with the door closed when he heard barking and came out in time to see Leo run past him and collapse at the bedroom door, according to court documents.

Southern Regional Police had a forensic necropsy done on Leo's body by a Penn State diagnostic lab, according to police. Autopsies on animals are called necropsies.

The procedure determined Leo suffered a number of skull fractures, a brain hemorrhage, a ruptured ear drum, subcutaneous head bleeding and a bruised lung, according to charging documents. The lung injury most likely was caused by CPR, police said.

'Not accidental': The lab also determined Leo died of blunt-force trauma that was not accidental in nature, documents state.

Leo's head injuries "are consistent with a high force injury and may have resulted from more than one impact," and they crushed the top of the Yorkie's skull, documents state.

The injuries "are typically associated with very high force impacts" and not consistent with falling from a height, animal attacks or being struck by a vehicle, Heffner wrote.

Allen spoke with Heffner again on July 7, 2018, and said he had only told "70 percent of the truth," documents state, adding, "The dog is dead because of me."

He then told the officer that he was drying off from a shower and had a towel over his head when he felt hair on his feet and kicked, "because he didn't know what it was," documents state.

Showered in shoes? Allen said that "When he removed the towel from his face, Leo was lying there at the door," documents state.

Under more questioning, Allen said he was wearing steel-toed shoes — despite just having stepped out of the shower, according to court documents.

"Allen's continued variances in his recollection indicate that (he) is still not being entirely truthful," Heffner wrote.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.