Oneida man who dragged dog behind vehicle pleads guilty to aggravated animal cruelty

Milton Lighthall

An Oneida man admitted to wrapping a cord around a dog’s neck and dragging her behind his vehicle, causing injuries so severe she had to be euthanized.

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 4:46 PM
Updated: Mar 3, 2021 4:54 PM

VERONA, N.Y. – An Oneida man admitted to wrapping a cord around a dog’s neck and dragging her behind his vehicle, causing injuries so severe she had to be euthanized.

According to Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara’s office, Milton Lighthall, 50, pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated cruelty to animals under the New York State Agriculture and Markets law, and will receive the maximum of two years in prison.

The DA’s office said Lighthall was staying with the dog’s owner in Canastota in October of 2020, and admitted that he intended to hurt the Australian German shepherd, Lily, for biting him two days beforehand.

The owner had been searching for Lily after she went missing on Oct. 2. After seeing a social media post about an injured dog found in Vernon, the owner was able to find Lily on Oct. 9, and bring her to a veterinary hospital.

The veterinarian determined Lily had developed sepsis after wandering around the woods for days with severe wounds on her paws and chest. Ultimately, Lily had to be put down because of her injuries.

According to Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, the investigation started after a witness saw what they thought was a disabled vehicle on Hill Road in Verona, and stopped to help. The witness saw Lily with the cord around her neck, and claims Lighthall said he found her like that, and unwrapped the cord before leaving the scene. Lily also ran away, but the witness called 911 after seeing Lily’s blood on the road.

Lighthall was arrested in November following the investigation.

He is scheduled to appear for formal sentencing on April 29, and will be held without bail until that date.

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