By Ray Stern
Telling your dog to sic a police officer ain't a good idea under any circumstances. Especially in Maricopa County.
Just ask 31-year-old Guillermo Bustamante, who'll be sentenced to 15 to 60 years for doing just that last fall.
One thing Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas seems to do right is send hardcore criminals to prison for a long time. Unfortunately, he seems to enjoy sending anyone to prison for a long time, as in the questionable decisions his office made in the case of teenager Matt Bandy. But in the case of Bustamante, a serious troublemaker since at least 1995, according to court records, prosecutors should be commended.
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Bustamante was convicted by a jury on July 22 for an incident in October in which he fled from a stolen car to his home, and followed by a Phoenix police sergeant. Once home, Bustamante punched the cop in the face and ordered his pet Rottweiler to "get him!" The dog did as commanded, sinking his teeth into the cop's arm.
Prosecutors pursued a "dangerous" designation on the subsequent aggravated assault charge, which has apparently never been used before in a case involving an intentional use of a dog as a deadly weapon, according to Thomas' spokesman, Michael Scerbo. That led to extra years being piled on to Bustamante's potential sentence. Superior Court Judge Susan Brnovich will decide how much time he gets on August 21.
No word on what happened to the dog, though it's a good bet the obedient Rottweiler — who was just following orders — got a death sentence.