A man has pleaded guilty to attacking a dog and its owner with a machete last year in Taunton, Massachusetts.
Forty-five-year-old Thomas Vargus of Taunton will serve just six months in county jail, with the remainder of his two-and-a-half-year sentence being suspended, according to the office of Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn.
Vargus approached a woman and her dog on Sept. 18, 2017, stabbing the dog twice with a machete. While trying to hit the dog, he also hit the owner in the leg.
The woman and the dog both survived. Witnesses told police that the attack was unprovoked and the dog had been leashed.
Vargus was captured in October in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, where authorities had determined he was staying with a member of the Pagan Outlaws motorcycle gang with whom he had previously served prison time. He was indicted on charges of animal cruelty and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors had argued for a sentence of three and a half years in state prison, but Judge William Sullivan issued a sentence in line with the defense's request. In addition to the six months in jail and two suspended years, Vargus was also ordered to wear a GPS monitoring system for six months.
Prior convictions against Vargus include an Attleboro assault and battery, an earlier prison sentence for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a 1997 drug case and several other crimes, according to the DA's office.
"This defendant showed no respect for the law by attacking a dog and its owner in broad daylight on a city street," Quinn said in a statement. "His lawlessness is not surprising based on his significant criminal history. He should have been ordered to serve more jail time, but at least there is some accountability."