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

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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