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WINTHROP HARBOR, Ill.  — A northern Illinois man who sent a video to a woman that appears to show him choke a puppy has been convicted of felony animal torture.

Lake County Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti found Robert Ehrhardt of Winthrop Harbor guilty Monday of one animal torture count and acquitted him of two other counts. Ehrhardt faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison when he returns to court Jan. 30 for sentencing.

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The Lake County Sun reports that the judge watched three videos Ehrhardt sent the woman with whom he had once been in a relationship. In one he said that the puppy should “tell mommy you can’t breathe” as he appeared to tightly grip its throat.

Ehrhardt testified that he was making a “dumb joke” and never hurt the dog.

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