Livermore Falls man receives summons after his dog kills therapy dog

LIVERMORE FALLS — A Livermore Falls dog owner was served with a court summons Tuesday morning after his dog, a bull mastiff-mastiff-Rottweiler mix, called Hooch, killed a smaller Jack Russell terrier named Jack on Sunday afternoon.

Martin Vining, 41, of 46 Park St. was served the summons on civil charges of having a dangerous dog, having an unlicensed dog and having a dog at large by Animal Control Officer Wayne Atwood.

Atwood said he has mailed the information to the Androscoggin County District Attorney's Office.

Vining has an arraignment date of Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 1 p.m. in Lewiston District Court, he said.

The Jack Russell terrier, a therapy dog, owned by Bethany Miller was leashed and on a walk Sunday afternoon with her children, ages 14, 16 and 19, when Hooch, who was loose, attacked the smaller dog about a half-mile from Miller's home.

Although Vining, a friend of his and Livermore Falls Police officer Vern Stevens attempted to separate the dogs, the Jack Russell terrier died during the incident.

Vining's dog previously attacked a mail carrier in 2007 and he was charged with having a dangerous dog at that time, Atwood said. Hooch is also not registered with the town this year.

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Amanda Stevens's picture


This is why i don't like leaving my dog outside for long periods of time. He's just a small Puggle and yes he would like to play with every big dog in the neighborhood. He's a friendly dog. Park St is not far from my house. There have been 2 dog attacks in Livermore Falls within the last few months. Something needs to be done. You cannot replace a Therapy dog. That poor dog suffered enough. What about justice for the dog that died. They should really euthanize that dog that killed that other dog. Apparently this wasn't this dogs first attack either. WHY DO PEOPLE OWN DOGS IF THEY ARE GOING TO BE MEAN TO THEM. I am sure this guy was MEAN to his dog and that's why he viciously attacked the mailman back in 2007 and this dog now in 2010. Its just so sad.

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i would respectfully argue that the jackrussel in this story could have outrun the mastiff or atleast gotten under a porch had he not been tied to his owner. before anyone gets the wrong idea i leash my dogs. not because they dont listen but because i usually walk with my children and need to keep my focus on them. however once when my dog was attacked by a neighbors dog i dropped my dogs leash so he could better defend himself and it also allowed me to better respond to the situation. pulling your dog away from another dog who is not restrained will not get your dog away from the situation the other dog will just keep moving in closer. your best bet is to drop your dogs leash so you can better interveen with the situation. IE.. kick the other dog hard.

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perhaps :)

I hope neither of us ever need to test any of the above theories. Thank you for the alternate point of view.

Never having owned a dog that would have been inclined to run away, it didn't occur to me that the Doxie or the JRT might have chosen "run and hide." Typically a bigger dog sees "run" as something prey would do... a bigger dog would more likely stand its ground... but a little dog might choose "run away," I guess?

I've always been on the other side of the coin... I've been a husky owner for years (I have only one elderly dog now)... they train their humans differently :) Personally, I would have never taken my dogs out without a leash... but they were huskies... they might be three counties over before I could find them if they got loose... and I knew full well what mayhem they were capable of along the way. It was my responsibility to keep them from getting themselves into trouble, and I took it seriously. I can tell from your posts that your dog's best interests are a priority to you, as well.

Happy trails :)

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One irresponsible owner kills two dogs, traumatizes children

At least that's what the article should be titled. Nice going, Mr. Vining. Because of your irresponsible actions, your dog will most likely be put down. The leash laws are in place for a reason, and it's NOT simply to raise revenue.

There seems to be a lot of this "dangerous dog" thing going around lately. A family just lost a doxie to a husky (both leashed, but unlicensed and un-vaccinated) in Lewiston last month.

Sadly, we live in a society where there is still a bit of stubbornness where it comes to owning dogs. There are owners who either give the argument that their family has "always" raised their dogs this way, or they think it's cruel to restrain a dog, or they believe vaccinations make their dogs sicker than the diseases they are made to prevent. There are also owners who refuse to license their dogs simply because they feel the town gets enough of their money already.

The fact is, it's cruel to raise a dog without giving it the boundaries it needs. A domesticated dog needs those boundaries. It needs a pack leader (and that, by no means, requires cruelty) to know what is acceptable behavior. When contained to your yard, it needs vaccinations to protect it from the wildlife (and un-vaccinated domesticated animals) which will eventually wander -into- your yard. It needs to be licensed so that on the rare occasion where it slips its collar or digs under the fence you can show up at the shelter and claim it. Believe it or not, they -want- to give you your dog back. They're not the enemy.

My sincere condolences to the Miller family.

 's picture

I meant to say...

...that both the doxie and the huskies were leashed, but the huskies were unlicensed and un-vaccinated. THAT owner simply couldn't control the number of prey-driven dogs she had leashed at one time.

 's picture

still no leash laws in maine

excerpt taken from the same web site used above.

6. At large. “At large” means off the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person whose personal presence and attention would reasonably control the conduct of the animal.

nowhere does it state the dog must be on a leash.

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Interesting argument, jeffyd. Pretty sure it doesn't apply to Mr. Vining's situation, though.

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you are correct the dog in this story was "At large" as i stated earlier. my comment was about the law, not this instance.

 's picture

no leash law?

§3911. Dogs at large
It is unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be at large, except when used for hunting. The owner or keeper of any dog found at large is subject to the penalties provided in this chapter. [1999, c. 254, §3 (amd).]

found here:

 's picture


a dog under voice command is not considered at large.

 's picture

animals dont have the right to be free?

Maine does not have a leash law. Maine has a command and controll law. your dog must be behaved and listen to voice command or be on a leash. this dog does not qualify as a voice command dog and the owner knew he was dangerous. i am not condoning this dogs right to be off a leash as clearly the owner cannot controll him. however there are alot of dog owners who actually spend time training thier dog and not every dog needs to be leashed.

 's picture

voice commands

While I understand your argument, I would have to argue... there is nothing quite as effective as pulling a voice-command-responsive dog AWAY from an attacking dog... as the leash attached to it's collar... and a big stick...

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Dogs, by nature, are not

Dogs, by nature, are not "solitary" creatures. They require a pack... a family... to be happy. Forcing it to live it's life "in solitary" would be more cruel than giving it the needle.


Fine him 20grand this time he

Fine him 20grand this time he will eventualy get it through his skull to be reckless with a dangerous dog is inviting problems!!

 's picture

$20,000 fine

Sounds like a grand idea... but if a person doesn't have the money, they don't have the money. I don't know Mr. Vining's financial situation, but a $20,000 fine seems a little mild.

Maybe it would be more effective to have him do community service at the animal shelter in addition to a fine?


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