Woman's conviction in dog's death overturned

February 25, 2008 5:57:07 AM PST

Thirty-four-year-old Wendy Kneller of East Penn Township was convicted in October 2006 of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals. She was sentenced to six months to a year in jail.

Prosecutors say she told her boyfriend to shoot their 6-year-old pit bull-chow mix named Bouta.

But a three-judge state Superior Court panel says Pennsylvania law allows a dog owner to kill a pet with a firearm.

The court says the state's law on killing animals is confusing. It is a misdemeanor to willfully and maliciously kill, mutilate or torture a dog or cat. But a subsection allows owners of a dog or cat to kill it, as long as the killing is not malicious.

The judges say another part of the state code lets humane societies use a gun to destroy animals.