AMHERST — Robert Danicki was looking out his bedroom window Sunday afternoon when he saw his dog stabbed by a man walking down the sidewalk.
Minutes later, the dog, a Chow-shepherd mix named Maya, died.
Danicki said he’s not sure what made Gerald Miller stab Maya, but he, his wife and four children are devastated to lose what they consider a member of their family.
“We can’t believe it happened,” he said. “It was just unbelievable.”
Amherst police are investigating the incident, but no charges have been filed. According to police, Miller, of Lakewood, was visiting his daughter, who lives two houses down from the Danickis on Red Tailed Lane.
Miller told police that he was walking his daughter’s white Pomeranian on the sidewalk when Maya attacked the dog. Miller said he intervened and Maya attacked him, so he stabbed Maya in self defense.
But Danicki said that isn’t what happened.
Danicki said he looked out the window after hearing Maya bark, and he saw Miller’s daughter ride by on a scooter. The girl is friendly with the family, he said, and has played with his dog in the past.
Danicki said he does not know Miller, but he was told neighbors have seen him in the past.
Miller, he said, walked by and appeared to have something in his hand. Danicki said the dogs began to bark at each other, but it didn’t sound hostile. Suddenly, Miller bent down and pushed the object police later said was a folding pocket knife into the dog.
“She started yelping,” Danicki said. “As soon as I saw it happen, blood started spurting out of her.”
Danicki rushed Maya to an emergency vet, but it was too late. Maya, who was stabbed once in the back, bled to death.
In the meantime, Miller, who had walked away, called police, according to a news release, to report that he had been attacked. Police said neither Miller nor the Pomeranian was injured.
Danicki’s dog is restricted by an electric fence. The incident occurred in Danicki’s front yard, near the sidewalk Miller was walking on.
Danicki wasn’t sure whether Miller was aware that he had an electric fence, but he believes the incident is suspicious.
Danicki said his 17-year-old son overheard Miller say, “it deserved it.”
Attempts to contact Miller were unsuccessful, and no one answered the door at a family member’s house.
According to a news release, neighbors told police that Maya was “a very obedient and well-mannered dog.”
The case has already sparked the attention of The Nitro Foundation, a group pushing to create a first-offense felony charge for those convicted of animal abuse.
Michael Smeck, a local member of the group, said if Miller’s attack was premeditated, he should be charged.
Danicki, who looked through a picture book of Maya with his daughter Tuesday, said the family is still grieving the loss of Maya, which they buried in the backyard.
Maya was adopted five years ago as a puppy and has lived with the family ever since.
“Everyone’s devastated,” he said. “She was just a lovable dog.”
Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.