Man Found Innocent of Drugging Show Dog

Acquital for man accused of drugging a dog competing with his girlfriend's dog at Illinois show

Posted: November 11, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

A Pennsylvania man was acquitted on Wednesday of charges that he drugged a Siberian Husky competing against his girlfriend’s dog at an AKC-sanctioned show in Wheaton, Ill., last December. If convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty, attempted animal cruelty and attempted damage to property, Ralph Ullum, 68, faced up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Jessica Plourde, owner of the prize-winning dog named Pixie, testified Monday she found pill fragments in and around Pixie’s cage during the show, and that an undigested pill was found after a veterinarian induced the dog to vomit. Two witnesses also testified to Ullum approaching Pixie’s cage while Plourde was not present and slipping something inside. Prosecutors said Protonix, and possibly Benadryl, were given to Pixie, who was ultimately unharmed by the drugs.

DuPage County Judge Ronald Sutter found Ullum innocent saying prosecutors hadn’t proven their case against him and that Ullum was acting non-maliciously as an “animal lover” when he approached and was near Pixie’s cage. Ullum’s attorney Ed Maloney argued that the allegations against the defendant were unfounded, and stemmed from a rivalry between dog trainers. Neither Pixie nor the dog trained by Ullum’s girlfriend won the Best in Show award at the Wheaton event.

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