A Miami Beach man accused of beating his beagle puppy to death won’t do any jail time.
Matthew Milewski, whose animal-cruelty case had been mired in legal battles since his 2011 arrest, will serve one year of probation and won’t have a felony conviction on his criminal history under a plea deal he accepted last week.
He’ll also have to make a $1,000 donation to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The plea deal was not offered by prosecutors, but by Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Yvonne Colodny.
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The death of the puppy named Molly got widespread publicity in 2011, with an online petition titled “Justice for Molly” garnering over 33,000 signatures.
Prosecutors said Milewski dragged the dog across a parking lot of his Miami Beach condo building until she bled, beating her with a leash and slamming her into a hard surface. A valet attendant told investigators he heard a “loud scream from a dog” and saw Milewski violently hitting the puppy with a leash.
Milewski’s defense lawyers long insisted he dropped the puppy in the shower by mistake, after she bit him while he tried to clean her bleeding paw.
He was charged with animal cruelty. The case took years to finish because of a legal row over whether investigators violated Milewski’s rights in seizing the dog’s remains from an animal clinic.
A Miami-Dade judge ruled that the law-enforcement officers improperly seized the puppy’s remains without a search warrant. The ruling suppressed the key evidence in the case: the dog’s remains, the necropsy on Molly and testimony from the veterinarian, who examined the dead puppy.
But an appeals court last year agreed with prosecutors, ruling that Milewski “abandoned his expectation of privacy in the puppy’s remains” when he left its remains at the clinic. The court ruled that only the dog’s medical records may remain shielded from jurors.