A 24-year-old Kingsville man charged with killing a tiny dog with his father's Jeep said yesterday that he swerved off a residential street to avoid hitting the animal and never knew he struck the dog until he was confronted by a police officer after Thursday night's Fourth of July fireworks.
Joseph Glenn Myers Jr. also said: "I'm sorry I killed anybody's animal, but it was an accident."
Myers, his father, his mother and a female friend who was with him the night the dog was killed went to the White Marsh police station yesterday for Myers to be processed on traffic and animal cruelty charges. He was released on his own recognizance after a hearing before a court commissioner at Essex District Court.
Myers' version of events varied sharply from those of a witness and Baltimore County police Officer Joseph Michaels, who quoted Myers in his report as saying on the night the dog was killed, "I don't see what the big deal is. I hit a dog. Big deal." Myers yesterday denied making that statement.
Michaels, who found Myers in his Jeep at home in the 7400 block Mount Vista Road near Kingsville Thursday night, said Myers at first denied he had been anywhere near the Amberly of King's Court neighborhood in Rosedale, where Beasley, a mixed-breed dog, was killed.
But after being told a witness saw him driving a Jeep in the area, Myers admitted picking up a friend there, Michaels said.
Myers said that he was confused at that time about what street he had traveled and wasn't trying to be evasive.
Still angry and defensive about the charges, the tall, sandy-haired Myers said, "I left the road to avoid the dog. They're treating me like I murdered someone.
"I believed it was a cat and that it went between my wheels," he said.
His girlfriend, who refused to give her name, confirmed Myers' account.
Myers denied witness Thomas Hopkins' account. Hopkins said the Jeep -- he recorded the vehicle's license number -- seemed to have been deliberately driven over the curb to hit the dog.
Hopkins also told police that the young people inside turned to look at the dog and laughed. Myers' girlfriend denied that and said she was merely talking with a passenger in the back seat.
The animal, Myers said, "was on the edge of the road and ran out in front. I swerved to miss it" and drove away because he thought he had successfully "straddled" what he thought was a black cat.
"I didn't mean to hit it," he said.
If his attitude toward Michaels seemed hostile, Myers said, it was because he was suddenly confronted with traffic tickets for almost $400 for something he said he didn't know he had done.
His mother, Louise Myers, said the dog was "unattended" and although she regrets its death, the owners must bear their share of the blame. She said her family owns pets and loves animals.
Myers is charged with reckless driving, driving off a roadway, failing to notify authorities after hitting a domestic animal, animal mutilation and malicious destruction.
Pub Date: 7/07/96