A Maine man accused of kicking a puppy on the Kennebec River Rail Trail in 2015 has been acquitted of an animal cruelty charge.

The Kennebec Journal reports that a jury found 46-year-old Michael Hein, of Fairfield, not guilty on Friday.

Authorities said an investigation determined Hein was jogging on the trail Nov. 23, 2015 when he stopped to kick the leashed puppy that moved in his direction. Police said the kick sent the golden retriever puppy into the air, but it has recovered.

Hein denied the claim. And his lawyer argued there was no evidence a crime occurred.

Hein pleaded guilty in 2012 to violating the Maine Clean Election Act by paying some of his own money instead of collecting $5 donations from individuals to qualify for funding. -AUGUSTA, Maine (AP)

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