A Pennsylvania man was acquitted Wednesday on charges he drugged a Siberian Husky at a December dog show in the western suburbs.
Ralph Ullum, 68, faced a year in jail and a $2,500 fine if convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty, attempted animal cruelty and attempted damage to property.
But following a bench trial, DuPage County Judge Ronald Sutter said Ullum was acting as an "animal lover" and was up to nothing nefarious when he approached the cage of Pixie, a who frequently competed against dogs owned by Ullum’s girlfriend.
In court this week, defense attorney Ed Maloney said the charges against his client have no merit.
"I think when all the evidence is in the judge will determine the state’s case doesn’t have four legs to stand on," he said, according to a Tuesday report in the Chicago Sun-Times.
At the trial on Monday, two witnesses took the stand and said they saw Ullum slipping something into the dog's cage before the show.
"I saw him put something into her crate and she ate it," testifiedf Terri Meyers, a professional poodle handler who was at the event, according to the Daily Herald. "He just put his fingers barely inside and dropped it. She did not chew; she swallowed it."
A veterinarian found anti-allergy medication and an animal tranquilizer in and around the dog's cage.
Ullum's girlfriend told the court Ullum pet several dogs but never fed any of them.