A Montana man has been charged with animal cruelty after his 20-pound dog was found so intoxicated it couldn't stand up.
Todd Harold Schrier, 49, was charged after East Helena police responded to a report of an intoxicated dog at a bar March 1. Officers found Arly II, a Pomeranian or Pomeranian cross that couldn't walk, the Independent Record ( http://bit.ly/GG3fFe) reported Thursday.
Court records say an intoxicated person who claimed part ownership of Arly told officers that Schrier had given the dog about a "to-go cup of vodka."
The dog drank in a vehicle outside Smith's Bar, not inside, and customers and staff of the bar cared for the dog and called police, the bar's owner told the newspaper.
Police took Arly II to a veterinarian, where the dog's blood-alcohol level was found to be 0.348 percent. An alcohol level of 0.4 percent can be fatal in humans.
"I had never seen a dog with acute alcohol poisoning," said veterinarian Michelle Richardson, who has been practicing for 20 years.
She said she was aware of cases in which dogs ate vodka-laced Jell-O shots or lapped up beer from cups at a barbecue, but had never seen a case of intentional intoxication.
"I hope it's rare," Richardson said.
The dog stayed at the animal hospital for days and is now at the Lewis and Clark Humane Society pending the outcome of the case.
Officers caught up with Schrier at another East Helena bar that night. Court records show he also faces a drug charge after police found a bag of hydrocodone pills on the ground outside the bar where he had been smoking.
KFBB-TV in Great Falls reports Schrier, of Helena, pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, the public defender's office said Schrier had not yet applied for representation.
Information from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com