A Tampa man convicted of animal cruelty towards a dog he killed and allegedly ate is on track to avoid extended incarceration after a judge decided Friday he should receive mental-health treatment.
Thomas Huggins, 26, was found guilty by a jury last month of felony animal cruelty in the death of his mother's pit bull, Bandit. Police said Huggins strangled, skinned, eviscerated and butchered the dog, storing some of Bandit's remains in the freezer and cooking its ribs in a pot on the stove.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Samantha Ward sentenced Huggins to 364 days in the county jail, a sentence that will be suspended if he is admitted to a residential facility for the mentally ill, according to the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office. Huggins will also be on probation for five years and must perform 150 hours of community service, the State Attorney's Office said.