'She was just a great dog': Wife speaks out after Ionia man charged with killing family’s German Shepherd

Allen Wegley is facing a felony charge after allegedly beating his dog to death in front of his wife and daughter
sassy dog web photo
Posted at 1:19 PM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 12:50:29-05

IONIA, Mich. — A 52-year-old man is behind bars for his role in allegedly killing his family’s longtime pet, a German Shepherd named Sassy.

Allen Wegley was arraigned in District Court Monday morning on a felony charge of killing/torturing an animal in the third degree.

According to Wegley’s wife, Sassy had been part of their family for a long time, rescuing her about 8 years ago.

"She had a big tow chain wrapped around her neck, and she was attached to a tree," Wegley's wife told FOX 17 Tuesday, asking us not to use her name.

"We got her off of there because she was all alone, she was so skinny."

The gentle German Shepherd quickly became a member of the family, even more so when the couple had their daughter, who is now 5-years-old.

"She's always been very protective over her," she said of Sassy and her daughter's relationship.  

"They're best friends, chasing each other in the house. It was really, really great."

Fast forward to the evening of Sunday, January 8.

Wegley had allegedly been drinking, when Sassy had an accident on the floor.

"He had stopped drinking about an hour prior to what happened, and she had ended up peeing on the floor," Wegley's wife explained.

"And he got ahold of her under the kitchen table."

She says that Wegley beat their dog to death right there in front of his wife and daughter.

"We were screaming at him to stop…she watched the whole thing, she watched everything he did to her."

A neighbor heard the commotion and called 911 to perform a wellness check on the family.

Once officers arrived on scene, they were eventually able to get the full story of what happened from Wegley's wife.

"They were here for a while, and they talked to him, they took a report, and they also made him dig up the dog," she explained.

After investigators looked into what happened, the Ionia County Prosecutor's office decided to issue criminal charges.

Sassy was believed to be about 11 years old when she was allegedly killed.

Wegley was arraigned on the charge Monday, being issued a $25,000 cash/surety bond. He is also legally barred from contacting his wife and child.

Wegley entered a not guilty plea during the hearing and is scheduled to be back in court for a probable cause conference on February 6.

His wife and daughter are hopeful for a bright future ahead of them, hoping that Wegley will grasp the seriousness of what he allegedly did.

“I love my husband very much, but he needs help. So, I honestly think that this is the best thing,” his wife said Tuesday.

“My daughter and I will be fine... But it's going to be tight... we're probably going to lose the house.”

She has set up a Gofundme campaign in an effort to help offset their daily living costs as they move forward.

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