BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — An Ohio man who allegedly beat a dog to death with a baseball bat now faces a felony charge, according to WKRC.
On Monday, Ruger, an 8-month-old German Shepherd, was beaten over the head 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 he was viciously attacked by Miller. However, Miller contests the accusation, saying his household was merely protecting themselves and their property.
“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.”
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.
They have also created a GoFundMe page to help pay for Ruger’s medical bills. Click here to make a contribution.