Is Alcohol Class to Blame in Dog’s Death?

by: Mike Miller

As a counselor for alcohol awareness classes I am a stickler for my students arriving on time. I have had a number of excuses, but this one takes the cake.

A dog owner in southern Colorado, who was running late for "alcohol class," is accused of animal cruelty in the dragging death of his dog. This according to

The Alamosa County Sheriff's Office was flooded by calls spotting a green pickup truck was dragging a dog. One witness saw the man stop and put the dog in the back of the truck.

Where was Chevy Chase?

In a scene almost right out of National Lampoon’s “Vacation” starring Chevy Chase and Beverly Deangelo, the deputy who stopped the pickup said he saw a rope tied to a bumper. The deputy said he followed the rope into the bed of the truck where he found it tied around the neck of a dog.

Do not read this next passage if gruesome details bother you.

The hair and flesh on the right side of the dog's body was gone exposing his facial, torso and leg bones.

The dog's owner, Eril Rael, said he was late to an alcohol class and forgot he had the dog tied up behind the truck. Rael was issued a summons for cruelty or neglect of animals. Real pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

Rael's pickup truck was equipped with an interlock device to prohibit anyone under the influence of alcohol from operating the vehicle. The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles said interlock devices require a breath sample before the engine will start.

A History of DUI and Bad Driving

According to a criminal background check, Rael had several DUI arrests. The first one came in 2004 in Alamosa County. He had subsequent DUI arrests and convictions in Costilla County in 2005 and 2007.

Rael also was found guilty in Costilla County in December for being a habitual traffic offender.

The State of Colorado currently does not allow for online alcohol classes. If this story reveals anything, perhaps it should. Perhaps taking the course online would have saved the life of man’s best friend.