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Gymnast found guilty of animal cruelty

March 27, 2013 at 8:23 AM

CHICAGO, March 27 (UPI) -- A Chicago judge found a former college student and gymnast guilty of felony animal cruelty for pouring boiling water on his dog, court officials said.

Kyle Voissem, 21, was found guilty Tuesday and faces up to 3 years in prison at his sentencing in May, the Chicago Tribune said.

Prosecutors said Voissem was boiling water for macaroni and cheese in October of 2011 when his 18-month-old mountain dog urinated on the floor. Voissem threw scalding water at the dog, causing second-degree burns over 50 percent of its body and third-degree burns on its neck, the Tribune said.

Voissem was a criminal justice major and standout gymnast at the University of Illinois at Chicago at the time of his arrest but was suspended and required to leave the team after the charges were filed.

Voissem's attorney, Catharine O'Daniel, said during the two-day bench trial this week that her client had only thrown water on the dog to scare it and didn't mean to hurt the animal.

The dog was removed from Voissem's home and adopted by another family shortly after the incident, the Tribune said.

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