Jason O'Neil Johnson

Jason O’Neil Johnson, 42, of Independence, Iowa, was sentenced for Animal Torture in the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County on November 5, 2019.  Johnson had been found guilty following a jury trial on August 8, 2019.

Johnson sought a deferred judgment during the contested sentencing hearing while prosecutors sought a 365 day jail sentence with 90 days imposed and the remainder suspended while Johnson complied with probation supervision for two years, submitted to a psychological evaluation and treatment, and completed community service.

After hearing arguments from the parties, District Court Judge George L. Stigler sentenced Johnson to a suspended minimum fine of $625, a 30 day jail sentence with only 7 days imposed and the remainder suspended while Johnson complies with one year of probation supervision, a psychological evaluation and treatment, and 16 hours of community service.

The charge against Johnson arose from an incident on May 17, 2019 in which Johnson held down the family dog, Daisy, and repeatedly beat her with a belt and closed fists because she had chewed on a pair of sunglasses Johnson left out. Johnson made his son record a portion of the beating and send the video to Johnson’s other children to show the children what happens when they fail to properly secure Daisy in her kennel. Officers with the Independence Police Department subsequently rescued Daisy from Johnson and charged him criminally.

Animal Torture, First Offense, is an Aggravated Misdemeanor and carries a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine between $625 and $6,250. Additionally, anyone convicted of Animal Torture must submit to a psychological evaluation and treatment and complete a community work requirement, which may include a work requirement performed at an animal shelter or pound.

See official Buchanan County Attorney's Office Press Release.
See related Press Release.