Butler County neighbors dispute reason dog was hit by baseball bat and later died

A Madison Twp. man has been charged and a dog’s owner has been cited after the dog was struck with a baseball bat while running loose in a neighbor’s yard and later died, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

The dog, a 9-month-old German Shepherd named Ruger, was found on the neighbor’s property, bleeding and not moving, according to a sheriff’s office news release. Ruger was taken to an emergency veterinary clinic by its owner and was euthanized due to its condition and injuries.

A crowd gathered on the block this afternoon to show support for the dog’s owners as the neighbors shared conflicting stories about why the dog was on Charles Miller’s property and how many times he struck it with a bat.


Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Miller, of Elk Creek Road in Madison Twp., was questioned and charged with cruelty to a companion animal, a first-degree misdemeanor, the sheriff’s office said.

“I don’t know how a person could beat a dog with a baseball bat and think it’s okay, this is intolerable,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

Kevin Foster, whose family owned Ruger, claims Miller, his neighbor, entered Foster’s fenced-in yard to retrieve two of Miller’s chickens that apparently entered Foster’s property and left the gate open.

Ruger then followed Miller back to his house, Foster said.

“This man beat our dog over and over and over with a bat to a point where it collapsed his skull, made his eyeball fall out of his socket, and in the end basically took his life,” Foster said.

The dog was euthanized at 2 a.m. Tuesday, Foster said. The veterinarian said Ruger had seven fractures, he said.

Foster’s daughter, Skylar Foster, who recently moved into her dad’s home, was cited into Middletown Municipal Court on Aug. 15 for failing to keep a dog physically restrained or secured.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

But Miller said that’s not what happened. He told this news outlet he was notified by someone at around 8:30 p.m. Monday “there was a dog in your backyard after your chickens.”

Miller said the dog was in his chicken coop, and he went outside with a baseball bat. He said he intended to trap the dog, but the dog “came out snarling.”

“I love animals,” Miller said. “We’ve got animals, we’ve got dogs. I went out there just to run this dog off. It was in my chicken coop with one of my chickens, already had it in its mouth.”

Miller said he intended to trap the dog, believing it would kill the chicken in its mouth. However, when the dog allegedly snarled at him, Miller said he struck it once because he was scared of an attack.

“I hate the way it did come down and I was scared,” he said. “I thought it was going to bite me, and that’s the only reason I hit him.”

The Foster family is promoting a GoFundMe page to raise $6,000 to go toward ending animal cruelty. In its first four hours, the fundraising page raised more than $1,000 with 57 donors.