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Craig S. Miller of Lansdale denied kicking his guide dog. He said he accidentally knelt on it.

A blind Lansdale man who testified that he accidentally knelt on top of his guide dog after a night of drinking, killing the black Labrador retriever, was convicted yesterday of animal cruelty charges.

Craig S. Miller, 42, testifying in a Montgomery County courtroom filled with animal-rights activists, denied that he fatally kicked Inky last Feb. 8.

"I loved him," Miller said of the animal that guided him for four years.

The case outraged animal-lovers, prompting an outpouring of response from around the nation, according to Montgomery County prosecutors.

"We were just inundated with telephone calls, letters and e-mails," said Risa Ferman, first assistant district attorney. "People would stop us constantly and tell us how outraged they were."

The public outcry prompted Pennsylvania lawmakers to enact legislation last year making the harming of a guide animal a third-degree felony with a maximum jail term of seven years.

Judge Paul W. Tressler, who heard the case without a jury, found Miller guilty of cruelty to animals but acquitted him of disorderly conduct charges. Miller faces a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to two years in prison when he is sentenced May 5.

Prosecutors said the guide dog died when Miller, once a candidate for mayor of Lansdale, kicked the animal so severely that it bled to death. Veterinarian Jenny Witthoff, who autopsied Inky, found it died from multiple blunt-force trauma and a ruptured spleen.

Miller told a different story, saying that he walked home from a bar that night and found Inky collapsed inside his garage.

"I dropped down to my knees not knowing he collapsed underneath me," Miller said. "I believe my knees may have bounced off of him."

The defendant said in court that he had had a month of training with the dog, given him by the Leader School for the Blind.

Court records show that Miller told police that he kicked Inky because he was angry and frustrated from working with the guide dog. Miller denied that in court.

"Did you ever kick with your sneakers?" asked Nino Tinari, Miller's lawyer.

"No," Miller replied.

Witthoff testified that the dog's head injury was not consistent with someone kneeling on it.

Among those in the courtroom was Joe Sikora, who uses a dog trained by the Leader Dogs organization. He said he hoped the Miller case would send the message that seeing-eye dogs should be taken from owners who abuse them.

There have been other animal cruelty cases in Montgomery County since Inky's death, Ferman said, but none has generated as much attention.

"Maybe because it was a guide dog," she said. "Because it was trained to protect its owner."

Tinari said his client was disappointed with the verdict. "It was an accident," Tinari said.
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/n...al/5106559.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Wow...

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A legally blind man convicted of killing his guide dog by kicking it to death was sentenced Monday to 4 to 23 months in prison and must pay $1,000 to a guide dog association.

Craig S. Miller, 43, of Lansdale, was convicted in February of killing his 4-year-old black Labrador, Inky, in February 2002. Prosecutors said Miller was intoxicated when he kicked the dog to death and dragged it the rest of the way home.

"The dog had no choice in life and essentially was on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take this man wherever he wanted to go," said Christopher Mullaney, Montgomery County assistant district attorney.

Miller must also pay $1,000 to the Michigan-based Leader Dogs Association for the Blind, get anger management counseling and have no contact with dogs or other animals for the duration of the sentence.

"I'm so sorry that this has brought so much attention and brought so many people to the point that they were outraged," Miller told Judge Paul W. Tressler. "My life will never be the same."

Miller had testified at trial that the dog's fatal injuries were an accident. He said that after he walked home from a bar, he found Inky inside his garage.

But prosecutors said the dog died after being kicked violently. An autopsy found that the animal died from multiple blunt-force trauma and a ruptured spleen.
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?n...d=465812&rfi=6
 

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A blind Lansdale man who testified that he accidentally knelt on top of his guide dog after a night of drinking, killing the black Labrador retriever, was convicted yesterday of animal cruelty charges.
The mans story is highly unlikely. If he knelt on the dog the dog would get out of the way mighty fast. I have two small dogs and they often stay close to my feet. On several occasions I almost stepped on one of them. It has never happened though because they are alert and always get out of the way.

And I'm sure that in the autopsy they can distinguish whether the dog was kelt on or kicked.

The man's original story, that he kicked the dog, is much more likely.
 

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Originally posted by Kurmudgeon

I hope they never allow him to have one again (he can use one of those sticks that blind people use and kick it all he wants).
And he can kick the stick all he wants, too!

I'm happy that they bothered to do an autopsy on the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What I don't get is this...

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Miller told a different story, saying that he walked home from a bar that night and found Inky collapsed inside his garage.
The guy is blind (and probably drunk) and needs a guard dog but walks home from the bar to find his dog there. Maybe he walked home with someone.
 

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Yeah, that part didn't make sense to me, either. If he needs a seeing-eye dog, why would he only need it part of the time? Unless he had already kicked the sh*t out of the dog before he went out drinking.
 
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