"I beat my dog with a hammer, I did it, your honor," said Shawn Finberg in Missoula Justice Court on Thursday.

Justice of the Peace Marie Anderson was taken aback by Finberg's confession, asking him several times if he would like an attorney to represent him. Finberg refused, tearfully explaining the reason for the attack on the animal.

"I did it, your honor, and I'll carry the memory until my dying day," he said. "I hit my dog with a hammer, but not as many times as the witness said. I went to the shelter finally, but everyone said the shelter was full, I didn't know what else to do, I had to get rid of him."

According to court documents, Finberg, charged with aggravated animal abuse, had been asked by the person with whom he was staying to get rid of his dogs, due to their constant barking. A neighbor witnessed Finberg with a pit bull dog wedged between his legs while he repeatedly struck it on the head with a hammer. Missoula County Sheriff's deputies arrived to find Finberg covered in blood. The injured dog was taken to animal control for treatment.

The usual procedure in justice court is for the defendant to hear the charges and for bail to be set, but in this instance, Judge Anderson released Finberg on his own recognizance, ordering him to return for sentencing on November 4.

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