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Man gets 25 years for killing dog

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A Milpitas, Calif., man has been sentenced to more than 25 years in prison for killing his girlfriend's 10-year-old dog, Copper, prosecutors said.

Alex Castro was sentenced Friday for beating Copper to death with a hammer in 2007. His sentence was influenced by two former violent felony convictions, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Smith said.

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"Despite the defendant's claims he was getting too much time for 'only killing a dog,' he is getting this sentence for the violence in his past," Smith told The San Jose Mercury in a story published Saturday.

In 1994, Castro was convicted of serious bodily injury for choking a man until he turned blue and nearly died, and in 1982, he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for striking two men with a tire iron multiple times, a probation report said.

Castro, 48, also had 20 misdemeanor convictions, including driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.

Joanie Gonzalez, who owned 10-year-old Copper, a cocker spaniel, said she was "satisfied" with the verdict.

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