December 21, 2014

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Man found guilty in dog stabbing

OBERLIN — Gerald Miller, the man accused of stabbing a dog to death in Amherst, pleaded no contest and was found guilty Thursday of one count of animal cruelty 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 a vet, but she died on the way there with a wound from a pocket knife that Miller had been 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 neither Miller nor the pomeranian was wounded.

The case attracted 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 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.