December 14, 1997 in Nation/World

Still Defiant, Disabled Dog Owner Out Of Jail

Associated Press

A 69-year-old man who is deaf, legally blind and diabetic spent a month in jail for refusing to get rid of any of the dogs he considers family.

James Melvin, let out of prison Friday, was convicted of violating an ordinance in the town of Littleton by letting his dogs bark too much.

“I’m not a criminal,” Melvin said through a sign-language interpreter. “They fingerprinted me and everything, just for having dogs.”

Melvin’s neighbors complained that his 14 dogs make a constant racket that spoils the peace in their quiet town of 650 people.

“A lot of people don’t understand hearing-impaired people,” said his wife, Marlene Melvin. “We’re pretty isolated. Our dogs are like our children.”

The original charges were filed in 1993 and Melvin was convicted in March.

He refused to obey the judge’s order to get rid of all but five dogs, and was sentenced to jail.

Marlene Melvin said they will keep their dogs inside more now.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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