Dog owner pleads not guilty to 3 charges

LEWISTON — A Livermore Falls man whose dog mauled a Jack Russell terrier last month pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three civil violations.

Dog kills dog
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Martin Vining pleaded not guilty in Lewiston District Court on Wednesday to owning a dangerous dog that was unlicensed and allowed to run at large. The charges stem from an incident last month in Livermore Falls in which a Jack Russell terrier was killed.

Martin Vining, 41, told an 8th District Court judge he was not guilty of owning or keeping a dangerous dog, an unlicensed dog or a dog running at large.

Vining at first pleaded guilty to owning an unlicensed dog, but he reversed his plea after the judge suggested he enter the same plea on all three charges.

A Nov. 16 trial date was set.

Because the charges alleged are civil infractions, Vining can't be sentenced to serve time in jail if found guilty, the judge said.

The charges stem from an incident during which the Jack Russell terrier, Jack, a therapy dog, was being walked on a leash on a Sunday afternoon in Livermore Falls. The dog's owner, Bethany Miller, was walking with her three children. About a half-mile from Miller's home, Vining's dog, Hooch, a bull mastiff-mastiff-Rottweiler mix, who wasn't on a leash, attacked Jack.

Vining, a friend and a police officer tried to separate the dogs, but Jack was killed during the fight.

Hooch also had attacked a mail carrier in 2007; Vining was charged with having a dangerous dog.

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 's picture

Give me a break!

I have owned pit bulls for years. When you own dogs that are perceived as a threatening breed, as an owner you have to be an advocate for them. That means monitoring them at all times. As you were burying one that had been hit by a car, and was obviously off leash, and unattended, it would seem to be that you are the problem. And to blame the dog that was leashed for being attacked is ludicrous. Do yourself a favor and just stop trying to defend yourself. Nothing you can say will change the fact that you should not own any sort of pet, because you are not a responsible owner.

Mike  Moody's picture


My heart goes out to Jacks family.. therapy dogs & the people that share these special animals kudos on what they do.. hats off to Jack.

Mike  Moody's picture


the key word , leash...... dog running @ large strike 2 ... prior mailcarrier bite.. the postal service must be drooling and the postal carrier also.

 's picture


I just want 2 say thank you 2 all of those who have tried 2 defend me,my family & of coarse the real victim Jack.Some things in this article are untrue.Like the part about me,the owner of Jack walking my dog with my boys.I am unable to walk that far,as I am in poor health.As a result my husband & children had to take turns walking our beloved Jack.I would also like to point out the fact that Jack never spent even 1 day inside a kennel.He was very well socialized,he spent his whole life with our family,he was never left alone so there was no need for a kennel.I only state this because I noticed a comment about Jack in a kennel.

 's picture


never had a problem with my Lab mauling anything but his chew toy....and I do pick up after him....

 's picture

Well Said QueenHoneybee

Again, well said.

 's picture

ahhhh, sun journians-do what

ahhhh, sun journians-do what they do best-attack a persons appearance... judging/ridicule.

there has to be a reason why he's pleading not guilty, i have no idea why-but if it were me (god forbid any of my dogs or rescues do something insane like this) i wouldn't fight it. i couldn't. i have insurance (personal liability) on all my dogs-if they were to bite someone it would be taken care of-however i do not think that it covers someone's dog being injured or killed. we have insurances for everything under the sun, but when it comes down to pets or companies wanting to fight it we're bum out. as dog owners it is our responsibility to make sure events like this do not happen. that begins with training and socializing.

it is so simple and easy to register dogs and not only a state law, but (supposivly some of) that money goes back to animal welfare. registering dogs is a way that they can have acknowledgment that they were even born... ALIVE. registering dogs is also a good way to prove that a dog is yours. the tag can help assist finding a lost dog. dogs need their rabies shot in order to be able to get the tag... there are rabies clinic at pet co and pet quarters if someone can not afford to take them to the vet at the very least... so there is no excuse in not following the law and protecting them.

sometimes-MANY TIMES-owners are guilty of loving their dogs too much... the dogs may exhibit unwanted behaviors on fault of the owner and lack of training/corrective training and/or past events and/or the breed. it is hard to let go or admit 'hey, i can not handle this on my own-i need help'. there is nothing wrong with that-but we have to do right by the animal so things like this don't happen.

rescuing dogs ended up being my accidental fate... the conditions or stories that follow each of these rescues it what drives me to do what i do. please people-spay and neuter your pets... STOP the excessive breeding. "don't shop... adopt" millions upon millions of dogs are being cruelly bred and millions upon millions of dogs and cats are being euthanized because no one can take them in. PLEASE neuter and spay your animals so this does not end up being their fate or their off-springs fate. i would like to let people know that i rescued my dogs or they were rescued and given to me, and have never paid for any of them. all dogs need the love, attention, and right training and the right dog/breed to fit your lifestyle and home. i will continue to rescue dogs and re-home them. EVERYONE should. DOGS AREN'T DISPOSABLE! IF ANYONE FEELS THAT THEY CAN'T HANDLE THEIR DOG THEY CHOSE TO OWN, THEY ARE NOT TRAINING THEM PROPERLY! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do right by them and at least make sure that you've put in the EFFORT to correct whatever it is that you are having an issue with. dogs are only as good as their owners! i know this first hand from experience at a younger age. the results ARE devastating. dogs are like children, and i would hope that no one would dispose their children, like they feel they are able to with a dog. becoming an owner of a dog is a commitment for LIFE!

 's picture

why is he pleading not

why is he pleading not guilty, the moron? The cops were right there? His dog was right there? HE was right there? You can obviously see that the dog takes after his owner! What a jerk is the kindest thing I can say here.


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