FORT WORTH - A veterinarian was convicted Tuesday of felony animal cruelty for bludgeoning a neighbor's miniature dachshund to death last year with a log-splitting maul after the dog got into his back yard in Colleyville.

Mircea Volosen, 45, contends that he was only protecting the laying hens in his yard when he killed Ginger.

Visiting state District Judge C.C. "Kit" Cooke delayed sentencing Volosen for about 30 days while authorities conduct a pre-sentencing investigation. Probation officials will conduct a criminal, background and employment investigation to help the judge decide on a sentence.

Volosen faces a maximum of two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Volosen seemed unaffected by the verdict Tuesday morning in a Fort Worth courtroom. He was taken into custody, but posted $5,000 bail several hours later and was released from the Tarrant County Jail.

His attorneys said they plan to appeal the verdict.

"He's in shock," said Bryan Buchanan of Fort Worth, one of Volosen's attorneys. "He's a man who escapes from a communist Romania to live in the land of the free, where you have a right to protect your property. And now this happens to him."

It wasn't the first time Volosen had killed a pet dog in his back yard.

In September 2002, he killed a black Labrador retriever, Coty, with a blunt object after the dog killed several rabbits and chickens, according to a police report filed by Volosen.

Colleyville police have said he was not charged in that incident because Volosen had a right to protect his animals.

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