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MARIETTA, Ga. -- A Smyrna man will spend three years in prison after being convicted of throwing his dog over a motel balcony.

Marcell Sibley pleaded guilty Friday to one count of aggravated cruelty to animals.

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He claimed he "just snapped" when he put his Yorkshire terrier, Diamond, in a crate and then threw the crate over the balcony of a Marietta motel last June 27. Diamond survived and now lives with a Florida family.

"Life was overwhelming for me," Sibley, 29, told the court. "It was my fault. (Diamond) didn't deserve that."

"I'm just really sorry, and I don't think going to jail will help me or my dog," Sibley added.

But Cobb County Superior Court Judge Stephen Schuster disagreed, saying, "You picked the dog up. You put it in the crate. You threw the crate over the balcony. You then went downstairs, picked up the crate and put it in the dumpster. You then left the scene. Those were not good choices that day."

After throwing Diamond over the balcony, Sibley tried to reclaim her at Cobb County Animal Control, according to Cobb County Assistant District Attorney Theresa Schiefer.

"I was appalled to learn that Mr. Sibley later tried to regain possession of the dog," Schiefer said. "(Diamond) is doing much better now and has been adopted into a loving family who is committed to providing for her future care, made more complicated by the long-term effects of this horrendous attack."

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