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Court hearing in alleged killing of dog continued to July

HOULTON, Maine –Two County men who were charged in connection with the abuse and killing of a dog last year will appear in court next month.

A dispositional conference will be held in the cases against Kevin G. Cummings, 28, of Houlton, and Brian Vrieze, 27, of Hodgdon, on Tuesday, July 2, in Houlton District Court, a clerk said Wednesday. A hearing in the matter was scheduled to occur on Tuesday but the case was continued.

Police charged Cummings with aggravated cruelty to animals and Vrieze with cruelty to animals following an incident on Nov. 26, 2018.

Houlton Police Chief Tim DeLuca said at the time that officers responded at about 8:30 p.m. that night to a disturbance call at an apartment complex at 52 School St., and determined that “the incident involved the abuse and death of a dog.” Police have not released any additional details about the case or what led up to the dog’s killing.

Several thousand people signed an online petition that was sent to the Aroostook County District Attorney’s office demanding justice for the dog, who was named Nicko.

A dispositional meeting is a courtroom meeting between the prosecutor, defense attorney, and the judge. At the conclusion of the conference, the case may be resolved by plea negotiation or the case may proceed to jury trial.

Cummings has a prior criminal history that includes convictions for violating a protection from abuse order, for which he was sentenced to five days in jail in January, and violating conditions of release, which also garnered him a five day jail sentence.

It was undetermined if Vrieze had a prior criminal history in Maine.

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