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Court orders release of 83-year-old convicted after his dog killed cat

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — An 83-year-old man who has served 527 days in prison for animal cruelty after his dog fatally attacked a cat committed no crime and must be set free as soon as possible, an appeals court ruled this week.

Hume Hamilton, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced to three years in state prison after a Broward County jury found him guilty of a felony animal cruelty charge last year. He has been locked up since July 9, 2012, about a month after his leashed pitbull mix dog Lady Bug attacked Mama, a cat sitting outside a Fort Lauderdale office building. The incident was captured on security surveillance videos. “His conduct did not cross the line into criminal behavior,” the three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in a unanimous decision.

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