April 16, 2014

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Man accused of stabbing dog to death pleads no contest

OBERLIN — Gerald Miller, the man accused of stabbing a dog to death in Amherst, pleaded no contest and was found guilty of one count of animal cruelty Thursday in Oberlin Municipal Court.

Gerald Miller, left, appears in court with his attorney, Gerald Smith.

Gerald Miller, left, appears in court with his attorney, Gerald Smith.

Miller did not comment during the trial, but he acknowledged that the charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Miller, of Lakewood, will not be sentenced until a presentence investigation is completed.

A hearing on the sentencing will be at 11:15 a.m. July 18.

On March 10, Miller, who was walking his daughter’s white Pomeranian on the sidewalk of Red Tailed Lane in Amherst, fatally stabbed a Chow-shepherd mix owned by Robert Danicki and his family.

The dog, Maya, was rushed to the emergency vet, but she died on the way there with a wound from a pocket knife Miller was carrying. Danicki said in an earlier interview that he witnessed the incident, and, while the dogs were barking at each other, there was nothing that prompted the stabbing.

Miller told police a different story.

He said Maya attacked the Pomeranian and later turned on him when he tried to intervene. He stabbed the dog in self-defense, he said.

Neighbors said, however, that Maya was obedient and well-mannered. Police said Miller and the Pomeranian had no wounds from the alleged attack.

The case prompted the attention of the Nitro Foundation, a group pushing to create a first-offense felony charge for those convicted of animal abuse.

Group member Michael Smeck, who was in attendance at Thursday’s hearing, said he will petition Judge Thomas Januzzi for the maximum sentence in the case.

On Thursday afternoon, a petition created on www.change.org already had more than 60 signatures.

Danicki said he hopes the judge will consider maximum charges.

“We’re glad that he was found guilty, and we hope he’s sentenced to as much as he can get,” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.

  • Roxanne

    I am still so hurt and angry that this family dog was murdered, I really hope they give him the max he deserves more.

  • Shelley Miller

    We need to stop these individuals whose lives are so miserable that they feel the need to take their anger out on anyone or anything. It is not just about animals.. these cowards are a danger to children, the elderly and anyone who is not able to defend themselves. There is a petition to encourage the max penalty for Mr Millers’ sentencing on http://www.change.org. Please take a minute to sign.

    • Larry Crnobrnja

      What is the title of the petition?

      • Shelley Miller

        Im not sure but the headlines reads man stabs dog and it includes Judge Januzzi name.

    • sueishere

      You’re right. This person was angry enough to do that what will he do to a person.

  • jz

    90 days with no early release.

  • mykennah irvin

    this is wrong no one should kill someone or a pet or somthing because they were bad thats wrong do you agree