SUTTONS BAY (WWJ/AP) – A Mount Pleasant man who police say drunkenly kicked a puppy to death has pleaded guilty in northern Lower Michigan to killing or torturing an animal and felony drunken driving.

Leelanau County prosecutors dismissed a felony count of malicious destruction of personal property in exchange for Maurice Francis’ plea this week.

The 21-year-old accused of smashing out the windows of a woman’s Ford Explorer in Northport in March and kicking Blu, a 12-week-old dog. Blu later died from the injuries.

Authorities said it wasn’t clear if he had a reason to target the woman’s vehicle or the dog.

“Just by his actions … there had to be a lot of rage involved,” Leelanau Prosecutor Joe Hubbell said, according to a report in the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Following the incident, Francis was stopped by police and arrested for drunken driving in Elmwood Township. According to court records, he was previously was convicted of drunken driving in December of 2008 and July of 2009.

Francis’ lawyer, John Ferguson of Elk Rapids, said his client “is extremely remorseful for his actions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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