AUGUSTA — A judge on Tuesday postponed the case of a man accused of kicking a 4-month-old puppy last November on the Kennebec River Rail Trail.

Michael Hein, 46, of Augusta was scheduled to appear at the Capital Judicial Center for a dispositional conference, but the case was postponed because a deputy district attorney wasn’t available. No new hearing date has been set.

News of the case’s continuance disappointed a dozen people, including the puppy owner’s family, who had gathered with signs saying, “Power to the Puppy” and “No animal cruelty.”

Hein is accused of kicking a puppy owned by AmyLou Craig while she was walking the dog on the trail on Nov. 23, 2015. Through his attorney, Scott Hess, Hein has denied the accusation. Hein has been charged with animal cruelty, a Class D misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Hess said Tuesday his client was disappointed that the case was postponed.

“The court date was not moved at his request,” Hess said. “He unequivocally denies the allegations and looks forward to the truth being presented in a court of law.”

Hess objected in court to the postponement, which was granted by Judge Tom Nale.

Hess said he understood that the hearing was continued because the prosecutor was not available. However, as the 10 a.m. hearing was approaching, Craig, her parents and others lined up coffee and doughnuts on a wall outside the Capital Judicial Center. The puppy involved in the alleged attack, Brewer, was not present for their planned protest.

“I didn’t think that would be appropriate,” Craig said. Brewer will be a year old in a couple of weeks, she said.

Craig said she was disappointed the case was not addressed Tuesday. “I’d really like to see it over and done with,” she said.

At Tuesday’s scheduled court hearing, Laura Benedict, owner of the Red Barn restaurant in Augusta, said she joined the show of support for the dog after reading on Facebook about what happened. Benedict said she has dogs of her own and was “outraged” by the alleged attack.

Craig’s father, Lou Craig, owner of College Carry-Out in Augusta, where a large sign has urged “Justice for Puppy Brewer,” thanked all those for coming to show support for Brewer and AmyLou Craig.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney told those gathered outside the courthouse that her office requested the case’s continuance because Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavnaugh, who is assigned to the case, was on vacation.

Augusta police charged Hein after an investigation that included statements from several witnesses. Police said the dog was on a leash, moved in Hein’s direction, and Hein stopped jogging and kicked the dog.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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