On Monday, Ruger, an 8-month-old German shepherd, was beaten over the head repeatedly with a baseball bat and died. Ruger had gotten loose, jumped the fence and ended up on neighbor Charles Miller’s property.
Ruger’s family says Miller viciously attacked their pet, but WKRC reports that Miller’s wife claims her husband was just protecting their property after Ruger attacked one of their chickens.
“I asked them what he was doing at my house, what’s going on with my dog. Right away, he replies in a huge, bad way, ‘I put your dog down,’” Ruger’s owner, Kevin Foster told WKRC.
The dog warden cited Miller with cruelty to a companion animal and the Fosters were reportedly given a ticket for failure to keep Ruger restrained.
According to a GoFundMe account created by the Fosters, Ruger suffered seven fractures and had to have blood suctioned out of his nose and mouth. Due to the severity of his injuries and significant level of pain, the family agreed to put Ruger down.
Miller initially faced a misdemeanor charge for the act.
However, on Wednesday, Butler County Prosecutor Michael T. Gmoser held an “emergency meeting” with the Middletown prosecutor and Butler County sheriff to discuss Ruger’s case. The three all agreed that Miller’s charge needed to be upped.
Miller now faces a 5th-degree felony charge of “serious physical harm to a comfort animal.”
“It was a team effort and I feel we have all reached a decision on what we feel is justice served for Ruger” Sheriff Richard K. Jones said.
The Foster family has started a campaign and created bumper stickers that say, #StopAnimalCruelty and #JusticeforRuger. They have reportedly received an outpouring of nationwide support.