Madison Twp. man warns of violence as animal cruelty case goes to grand jury

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Charles Miller animal cruelty case sent to Butler County Grand Jury

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

While the protesters said they were pleased with a judge’s decision to send a felony animal cruelty charge to a Butler County grand jury, the deceased dog’s owner said there could be violence among neighbors on the Madison Twp. street where the incident took place.

Middletown Municipal Court Judge James Sherron found probable cause that Charles Miller, 60, of Elk Creek Road in Madison Twp., committed cruelty to a companion animal, so the case was bound over to a grand jury. When Sherron announced his decision Friday afternoon, those in the crowded courtroom applauded, but they quickly were stopped by a bailiff.

Several Middletown detectives and court officials escorted Miller and his wife out of the back of the City Building to their vehicle as protesters watched.

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Miller was arrested Aug. 6 after the charge against him was raised from misdemeanor to felony. He is accused of hitting a neighbor’s dog on Aug. 5 after he said the dog was in his chicken coop, then attacked him. The dog, a German Shepherd named Ruger, was later euthanized.

Kevin Foster, the dog’s owner’s father, said there were several incorrect facts during the testimony and he’s worried the tension among the neighbors may escalate.

“One of these families probably will be on the news soon,” Foster told this news agency after the preliminary hearing. “Whether he comes at me and whatever happens, that’s disgusting. That’s disgusting that it has to come to this.”

Foster said there were inconsistencies with the testimony from his neighbor, Brad Sorrell, who was called by Miller’s attorney, Thomas Manning. Sorrell testified that he saw Ruger in Miller’s yard, so he alerted Miller. He saw Miller leave his house with a baseball bat, then hit the dog once as the dog was coming toward him, he testified.

Sorrell said he then returned to his yard so he didn’t see if Miller hit the dog more than once.

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But Butler County Deputy Dog Warden Jamie Hearlihy testified Miller told her he “beat the F” out of the dog. Later, she testified, Miller said he couldn’t remember how many times he hit the dog.

Originally, Miller was charged with a misdemeanor, then Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones increased the charge to a fifth-degree felony, Hearlihy testified.

Manning called the dog’s death an “unfortunate situation.” He said Miller “used what he could” to protect him from the dog.

He said Miller was innocent of the charge because he used “self-defense action.”