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Article updated: 6/1/2012 3:08 PM

Repeat Aurora dog abuser sentenced to a year in prison

By Harry Hitzeman

An Aurora man who served jail time in the 1990s for killing his dog by running it over was sentenced Thursday to a year in prison for breaking five teeth on another dog in November 2010.

Phillip Rinn, 43, had faced anywhere from probation to three years in prison after pleading guilty to felony aggravated animal cruelty.

Kane County Judge Timothy Sheldon noted that Rinn had 16 prior arrests, including a felony burglary conviction, and was "unlikely to comply" with probation again.

Sheriff's deputies were called to Rinn's home in the 300 block of South Kendall Street the night of Nov. 15, 2010, after a neighbor complained that Rinn was beating his dog with a broomstick.

Authorities said Magda, a then 1-year-old white German shepherd mix, had five broken teeth, was bleeding from her nose and her right eye was injured.

Daniel T. O'Hara, a 25-year deputy at the Kane County Sheriff's Department, responded to the call on Aug. 22, 1993 at Peck Road, just south of Route 38 where a Geneva officer found a dead dog in a ditch.

Rinn pulled up in his car and admitted that he chained and dragged the dog.

"When that didn't kill it, he ran it over," O'Hara testified. "He didn't want that dog anymore. It chewed up the inside of his car and tried to bite his wife."

Rinn got 60 days in jail and 200 hours of community service back then.

Thursday, Assistant State's Attorney Reagan McGuire argued to Sheldon that prison was needed to deter others from hurting their pets.

"This is not the type of behavior that is acceptable. It's cruel," she said. "This is a situation that is likely to occur again. He clearly has not learned his lesson."

Defense attorney Ned Khan sought probation and treatment for his client, arguing that Rinn was a caring father, was fired from two jobs since his arrest and guilty plea, and is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome from his service as an amphibious assault vehicle gunner with the U.S. Marines in the first Gulf War.

"His actions are reprehensible and I think Mr. Rinn would tell you that himself," Khan said. "But this is not a person. He injured an animal."

Rinn also apologized and said he accepted responsibility.

"I am very remorseful," he told Sheldon. "I wish I could go back and turn around and walk away and not let my anger make a decision that will reflect upon me for the rest of my life."

The case drew protesters outside of court on numerous occasions. Thursday, the rain forced several animal rights activists inside, where they watched Rinn get taken away in handcuffs on his way to prison, where he can have his sentence halved for good behavior.

"It's better than probation," said Jeannette Schulz, founder of On Angel's Wings, a Crystal Lake-based animal rescue. "I pray that he gets the help he needs, but only God can forgive him for being a disgrace to the United States Marine Corps and the human race."

Janet Jones, a Cary resident, said she was pleased Rinn was sentenced to prison as well.

"He's a coward, he's a bully and he needs help," said Jones, who attended and/or protested at 11 of Rinn's court dates. "We've been doing this work for animals for years because they have no voice."

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