For Immediate Release
May 6, 2019
PROSECUTOR ERIC SMITH RECOGNIZED FOR ANIMAL PROTECTION EFFORTS
MOUNT CLEMENS, MI — Today, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric J. Smith was honored to receive a recognition and appreciation award from the Humane Society of Macomb Foundation and the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance for leadership in prosecuting the Sterling Case, declaring that “Animal Cruelty Will Not Be Tolerated.”
Sterling was a friendly brown dog, who was brutally stabbed multiple times, and left for dead in a park in Utica this past January. Alexander Gerth was charged with and plead no contest to felony animal abuse – the most severe charge allowable at the time for the crime. Initially, the Judge made a sentencing agreement with Gerth.
Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Smith had adamantly opposed any sentencing agreement, specifically due to the brutal nature of the crime, Gerth’s prior criminal record, and the fact that the law had changed in March, which would have allowed for a more severe sentence had the crime taken place in April.
At Gerth’s sentencing hearing, the Judge withdrew his initial sentencing agreement, and instead sentenced Gerth to 3 to 6 years for the merciless killing of Sterling.
“I was incredibly surprised, but am truly honored to receive this recognition,” Prosecutor Smith said. “Cases that involve our most vulnerable victims, such as our four-legged best friends, tug at our heart strings like no others. These innocent animals have no voice. It is our responsibility to fight and seek justice on their behalf.”
Smith continued, “This case united the community. The positive outcome was a genuine group effort – from the efforts of law enforcement, to the support of those on the front lines of animal welfare, to the grassroots supporters who sent letters and attended court hearings. Our unified front showed that we have zero tolerance for animal cruelty in Macomb County.”