Court Voids Cruelty Conviction for Killing Dog
Weissport, PA - A state appeals court has ruled that a Carbon County woman was wrongly convicted of cruelty in the killing her pet dog. Wendy Kneller, 34, of East Penn Township, was found guilty by a county court jury in October 2006 of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals for telling her boyfriend, Randy Miller, to shoot their 6-year-old, pit bull-chow mix named Bouta. She was sentenced to six to 12 months in jail and Miller was given a term of two years. But both sentences were stayed while appeals were considered.
Man is Charged With Cruelty and Threats, Girlfriend is Accused of Conspiracy
September 12, 2006 - The trial is scheduled to start Friday for Randy Miller, who police said led a 6-year-old chow named Bouta into the woods in Weissport on March 24, beat it with a shovel and put a bullet through its head at the behest of his girlfriend, Wendy Kneller, who claimed the dog bit her child.
Miller, 25, of 230 White St., faces charges of animal cruelty and terroristic threats. At an April 26 preliminary hearing, a veterinarian said the dog had 2-inch-deep cuts on its head and neck, and a man said Miller threatened to kill him if he told anybody about the dog's death. Kneller, 32, who police said urged Miller to kill the dog, is charged with conspiracy.
At the preliminary hearing, Kneller's estranged husband said Wendy Kneller took the dog when they separated and kept it in the house where she and Miller, both unemployed, lived with her five children, ages 4 to 14, and 16 dogs, including a pit bull with 11 puppies. Witnesses at the hearing said they watched Miller lead the dog into the woods, slam the shovel on its head several times and shoot it in the head. One said Miller threatened him as he left the woods with the shovel, saying if he told anyone, "I'll find out where you live and kill you."
At the hearing, Trooper Francis L. DeMatto of state police at Lehighton said he found Bouta's shallow grave, then interviewed Kneller, who told him she "asked her boyfriend to kill the dog because it bit her baby today." DeMatto said he saw the child three days later and there were no bite marks. The trooper said he didn't go into the house because there were several large dogs, and he didn't have backup and was concerned for his safety.
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