By Liliana Ospina

A person has been charged with the killing of Sterling, a 3-year-old pit bull mix, whose body was found stabbed to death in Grant Park in Utica earlier this month.
Sterling was traced with a chip back to the Humane Society and the current owner who lives near Utica. The owner, who is not being identified, said that the dog was taken from inside the home the day before.
Alexander Gerth is charged with one count of killing/torturing an animal and faces up to four years in prison.
“The inhumane treatment of Sterling by this defendant is unconscionable,” stated Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith. “My office is fully committed to prosecuting this case at the fullest extent under the law. No animal deserves to have his life ended this way.”
Gerth is accused of stabbing Sterling to death and leaving the body under a picnic table at Grant Park in Utica. According to Smith, the suspect “admitted to hitting and punching Sterling on numerous occasions in the short time that Sterling lived with him, stating he used the physical abuse as a means of discipline.”
“Rest assured that there will be no plea bargaining in the case,” Smith said. “We have charged Gerth with most severe charge on the books, and we will be asking for the maximum possible sentence provided under the law. There is no doubt that there needs to be tougher laws addressing animal abuse.”
Gerth was originally denied adopting Sterling from MHS, who then had his friend adopt the dog for him without disclosing that reason to the organization.
The Humane Society had the dog since it was a puppy born in their care. But unfortunately, the dog adopted twice before and returned - not because of behavioral problems, but owners who could not take care of the dog.