An Oneida man has been arrested and is facing Animal Cruelty charges after the horrific death of a dog.

Officials say they became involved in the investigation of this incident in early October after a witness called 911 to report they had came upon a disabled vehicle on Hill Road in Verona. That witness recalls seeing a white male and a dog near the car. According to Sheriff Rob Maciol, the witness told 911 the dog had a cord tied around its neck.

The witness told officials the man seen with the dog said that he found the dog and after the cord was removed from the animal's neck, he drove away and left the dog behind. After the man left, the onlooker claimed to have seen a significant amount of blood on the roadway and notice it had come from the dog, according to officials. The dog eventually ran away.

When deputies arrived they tried to track the dog by following its bloody footprints, but they were not able to locate it. They contacted the Town of Verona Dog Warden in an attempt to locate the injured and bleeding animal.

Law Enforcement says on October 9th the owner of the injured animal brought it to a local vet. The dog, named Lilly, matched the description of the one seen with the man by the witness. The owner had been looking for the 6-year-old Australian Shepherd since she went missing on October 2nd. The owner told police that he saw on social media an injured dog was located on Hill Road and a friend took him to look for her.

The veterinarian examined Lilly and determined she was suffering from advanced injuries and due to those injuries, she had to be euthanized. Lilly was then handed over to the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University for a necropsy. Officials say that examination determined Lilly had been forcefully dragged against a hard, rough surface and that is what caused her injuries. The exam also showed she was struggling to resist being dragged.

Photo Courtesy of Oneida County Sheriff's Office
Photo Courtesy of Oneida County Sheriff's Office

Eventually police caught up with and identified the suspect in the case. Investigators determined 50-year-old Milton Lighthall was the alleged abuser and arrested him on a charge of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, a New York State Agricultural and Markets Law felony. Law enforcement say it was learned Lighthall was an associate of the dog owner and had been at his residence prior to the alleged dragging incident.

The Oneida County Sheriff in conjunction with the Central New York SPCA both investigated the incident.

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