SUNBURY - "Horrible activity."

That's how Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage described the acts allegedly committed by a 21-year-old Shamokin man, who pleaded guilty Monday to throwing a puppy over an embankment behind a cemetery in Coal Township in January, before imposing a stiff sentence on the defendant.

Michael Wolfe, 21, of 709 E. Dewart St., Apt. 206, was sentenced to serve two years of supervised probation, with the first 90 days on house arrest, and ordered to pay fines, costs and approximately $1,700 in restitution.

Sacavage imposed the aggravated-range sentence after rejecting a request for a standard range. The aggravated range involves more restrictions and only allows Wolfe to leave his home for work, medical appointments or religious services while he's under house arrest.

"I don't know what your thought process was, but this was horrible activity here," Sacavage said prior to sentencing. He said pets are very important to people's quality of life, and that the case "stirred a lot of emotions."

Wolfe, who told the judge he has no other pets, declined comment when asked by the judge if he had

anything to say just prior to sentencing. He also declined comment after the proceeding.

Wolfe, who has no prior criminal record and is employed, was sentenced after pleading guilty to misdemeanors of unsworn falsification to authorities and cruelty to animals. An additional misdemeanor of criminal conspiracy was withdrawn.

Sacavage sentenced the defendant to two years of supervised probation for unsworn falsification and one year of supervised probation for cruelty to animals. The sentencings will be concurrent, meaning Wolfe will be required to complete two years of supervised probation.

Reimburse Mostly Mutts

Sacavage also ordered Wolfe to pay $600 in fines plus an assortment of costs, including $450 per month for the house arrest program and a $50 hookup fee for a tracking monitor.

Wolfe must pay $1,751.91 in restitution to Mostly Mutts, a no-kill animal shelter in the Sunbury area that has taken care of the female brindle pit bull known as Harper since it was thrown over the embankment. The defendant must pay the restitution first.

The defendant also is prohibited from owning any pets during his sentence.

Wolfe was ordered by Sacavage to write a letter expressing remorse for his actions to Cheryl Hill, owner of Mostly Mutts, who testified Monday prior to sentencing.

Hill said Harper is still blind and requires medical care, but is getting healthier. She said the puppy continues to grow and has become playful with other dogs.

Hill said the puppy is currently staying at a house in Northumberland County.

"I was really pleased with the sentencing," she said afterward. "I think being on house arrest will be worse for him because his actions will be restricted and monitored. I'm just glad it's over."

Wolfe's attorney, Northumberland County Conflicts Counselor John Broda, said he sought house arrest because Wolfe will still be allowed to work, and that it is better than prison time.

The cruelty to animals charge is a misdemeanor of the third degree that carries a maximum penalty of one year incarceration and $2,500 fine. Unsworn falsification to authorities carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and $5,000 fine. The maximum penalty for criminal conspiracy is one year imprisonment and $2,500 fine.

Coladonato to enter plea

Wolfe and his former live-in girlfriend, Angelina Coladonato, 19, of 831 E. Clay St., Shamokin, a co-defendant in the case, have a 1-year-old daughter. Wolfe said Monday that his current girlfriend is pregnant.

Coladonato is scheduled to enter a plea in the case at 1:15 p.m. July 23 before Sacavage. She is represented by Northumberland County Public Defender Michael Romance.

Wolfe and Coladonato have been free on $20,000 unsecured bail since their arrest in January.

The puppy, who was given the name Harper after its rescue, the same as a pit bull puppy that survived abuse in Florida, was barely breathing and couldn't move its legs when it was found Jan. 7. Harper was discharged from Sunbury Animal Hospital in late January and released into Hill's care.

Police said Wolfe and Coladonato decided to dispose of the puppy, which had health issues. They told police they thought the puppy was dead.

Police reported Wolfe took the canine, wrapped it in a towel and drove to an area behind St. Edward Cemetery in Springfield, where he allegedly threw it down an embankment during the evening hours of Jan. 6.

According to police, Wolfe and Coladonato initially lied that they gave the puppy to a friend.

Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III of Shamokin, who was assigned to hear the case before it was sent to county court when both defendants waived their rights to preliminary hearings, received a petition containing names of 15,100 people from all over the world expressing outrage. The cover letter on the petition, signed by Michelle McCaulley of the Hand4Paws All Volunteer Animal Action Team, suggested Wolfe and Coladonato should receive the maximum sentence allowed under the law and should never be allowed to own animals again.