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Animal Cruelty Case Continued Without Finding

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A local man was given a continuance without a finding after killing a 10-month-old puppy.
 
Coty Dakin, 29, had entered to an admission to sufficient facts plea to a single county of animal cruelty on March 12. The case was continued without a finding for one year. Police had accused Dakin of crushing the skull of his girlfriend's 10-month old Chihuahua, Chichi, in Lanesborough in 2017.
 
Police said on Nov. 20, 2017 officers were dispatched to the girlfriend's home for a disturbance during which it was reported that Dakin had killed his girlfriend's dog. Police said Dakin was asked about the incident and he claimed he kicked a chair into the wall and accidentally killed the dog. 
 
"He explained that he had found that the dogs made a mess in the living room and he was cleaning it up when he became angry. The dogs ran and hid behind a reclining chair at which time he kicked the chair into the wall. He stated he heard one of the dogs yelp so he moved the chair away from the wall to find the dog bloody and not breathing," reads the police report.
 
However, officers sent the puppy's body to Forensic Veterinary Investigations in Boston for necrology and Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore said the injuries did not align with that story.
 
"The constellation of injuries in this 10-month-old Chihuahua puppy are consistent with manual crushing of the skull during ineffective 'wringing' of her neck (manual dislocation of the head from the neck by applying torsional forces). In my opinion, rather than dislocating the head from the first cervical vertebra, the skull crushed and shattered under considerable manual force," the report reads.
 
"The shattering of the bone at the base of the skull pierced into the oropharynx causing the bleeding from the nose and mouth. The shattering bone at the skull compromising the inner/middle left ear cause the bleeding out of the left ear ...
 
"In my opinion, Chichi's death was accompanied by intense pain and suffering."
 
The multi-page report debunked Dakin's story and Smith-Blackmore determined that the injuries "are inconsistent with an accident crushing injury between a piece of furniture and the wall."
 
Friends reported trying to get Dakin to seek psychiatric help and witnesses who were there that day cited a few things that did not quite seem to back Dakin's story, such as a lack of blood in the supposed chair area and the number and severity of the injuries to the dog.
 
Police returned to question Dakin further about the incident and the findings but Dakin maintained his story. However, police said that between Dakin's admission of kicking the chair into the wall, admitting to having anger problems and "coming to a boiling point that day," admitting he did not want the dog in the first place, and the necropsy report,  warranted the charge.
 
The case has been going through the district court process for about a year and ultimately Judge Jennifer Tyne agreed to the continuance without a finding.
 
In a follow-up letter, the owner of the dog wrote about the pain of losing Chichi and the impact it had on her children.
 
"There's not much I could say that could describe the hurt I felt then and still do, it isn't something that can just be erased and whereas I've felt so many emotions in this matter from anger to loss, sadness, and even guilt. Still, I feel that no judgment is going to bring back what we lost, it isn't going to fix what's already been broken," she wrote.
     

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