LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A DeWitt Township man has plead guilty to a misdemeanor after an injured dog was found abandoned in a kennel inside a construction dumpster.

Cecil Richardson of DeWitt Township reached a plea agreement with the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office on Dec. 15.

This story goes back to Aug. 16, 2022, when Ingham County Animal Control (ICAC) officers were sent to the 500 block of E. Thomas Street in Lansing for an injured dog.

When they arrived, they found the dog with what appeared to be injuries from severe blunt force to its head, animal control said.

ICAC’s medical staff tried to treat the dog, but the injuries were too severe and the dog had suffered neurological damage. Animal control made the decision to humanely euthanize the dog.

A social media plea was made for information on the incident, and animal control officers were led to Richardson, who was under investigation for animal neglect in Clinton County.

After some further investigation, ICAC officers learned the dog in the Clinton County investigation was the same as the dog who had to be euthanized.

According to ICAC, multiple witnesses said that Richardson allegedly beat the dog with a hammer in front of his children in DeWitt Township.

Since the incident happened outside of Ingham County, DeWitt Township Police formerly joined the investigation and submitted the report to the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Richardson was eventually charged with unlawfully torturing an animal, a felony that carries a prison sentence up to seven years. He plead not guilty in November.

However, on Dec. 15, Richardson reached a plea agreement with the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office and plead guilty to misdemeanor animal abandonment, according to ICAC.

“Given the severity and brutality of this crime, we are deeply disheartened to find that this case was plead to a misdemeanor charge,” ICAC said. “However, we would like to thank the community for all of their support and a special thanks to the DeWitt Township Police Department for their efforts in this case.”

Richardson is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 20, 2023 in the 65A District Court.