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A Montana man faces animal-cruelty and drug charges after he was caught with a different breed of "DUI": a dog under the influence of alcohol.
The drunk-dog tale began about 11:30 p.m. March 1, when patrons at a bar reported a small dog -- a Pomeranian or Pomeranian cross -- that was visibly intoxicated, Helena's Independent Record reports. The 20-pound dog couldn't walk in a straight line, and kept falling over when placed on the floor, police said.
Officers took the dog to an animal clinic, where a blood test revealed a 0.348% blood-alcohol level -- more than four times the legal limit ... for humans, of course, the Independent Record reports. A bar patron copped to getting the dog drunk.
Todd Harold Schrier, 49, of Helena, claimed part-ownership of the drunken dog, named Arly II, and admitted he fed the dog a "to-go cup of vodka," according to a police report.
Alcohol can affect canines much like it affects humans, for whom a 0.4% blood-alcohol level can be fatal, the veterinarian who drew Arly II's blood told the Independent Record. "I had never seen a dog with acute alcohol poisoning," the vet said.
Arly II's owner, Schrier, was eventually arrested at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in East Helena. Police also allegedly found a bag of hydrocodone pills on the ground where Schrier was standing.
Schrier, who was on probation for prior drug offenses, is now charged with animal cruelty and felony drug possession.
Montana laws define animal cruelty as knowingly or negligently mistreating or neglecting an animal. Schrier's alleged admission seems to fit the bill.
But a drug possession charge may be trickier to prove, especially since the drugs were on the ground, and not in Schrier's actual possession. Prosecutors may try to argue constructive possession -- that Schrier had access to the drugs on the ground.
Schrier remains in jail in lieu of $30,000 bond. Arly II is now being cared for at the local humane society -- where alcohol is definitely not on the menu.
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