Animal shelter worker gets 4 years in prison

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – A former Memphis Animal Shelter employee has been sentenced to four years in prison.

The Commercial Appeal reports ( ) that Billy Stewart was sentenced Monday by Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan. Stewart had previously been convicted of four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals

Stewart had been seeking diversion or probation. He told Skahan that he could not be sorry for something he didn’t do.

Stewart was convicted of choking dogs into unconsciousness by tightening the noose at the end of a catch pole.

He was one of three men indicted after an undercover police officer investigated allegations of abuse, missing animals and dogfighting at the shelter in 2011 and 2012.

Authorities say dogs at the shelter were given painful injections of lethal drugs directly into their hearts without anesthetics.