The man who was accused of intentionally dragging a dog behind his vehicle in October was convicted in Oneida County court Wednesday.

Officials with the Oneida County District Attorney's Office say Milton Lighthall appeared virtually to plead guilty to Felony Aggravated Cruelty to Animals.

During the allocution phase of his plea, Milton described in horrific detail the actions he took against an innocent little dog named Lily. Officials say Lighthall admitted to being on Hill Road in the Town of Verona on October 2nd with Lily. Lighthall confessed to tying Lily to the rear bumper of his vehicle and driving a distance so that the dog would be dragged behind the car causing severe injuries, according to Oneida County DA Scott McNamara.

When asked why he would do such a thing, Lighthall told Judge Robert Bauer he was angry the dog had bit him two days prior to the dragging event. Lighthall also admitted that he took the dog from her owner's residence in Canastota and brought her to Hill Road.

McNamara says the case originally came to light when the owner began searching for his missing Lily. Officials say Lighthall had been staying as a house guest of the dog's owner prior to the incident. Lily's owner was eventually made aware of Lily's location in Verona, picked her up and immediately brought her to a veterinary hospital. The injuries were so severe, Lily developed sepsis and ultimately had to be euthanized. McNamara says the details surrounding the dragging were discovered as a result of a thorough investigation by the Oneida County Sheriff's Office.

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said in a statement following the conviction,

I offer the continued condolences of my office to Lily’s owner and to the greater community of people who tirelessly advocate for the humane and ethical treatment of animals. The gratuitous infliction of suffering upon a defenseless animal will never be tolerated, and because of this, the maximum sentence was the only outcome of the case that was acceptable to our office for such a cruel act.

Officials say Lighthall will be sentenced on Thursday, April 29th, 2021. As part of his plea deal, Lighthall will face the maximum sentence of 2 years in prison. He is being held without bail at the Oneida County Correctional Facility until sentencing.

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