MIAMI — Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped the animal cruelty case against a Florida man accused of having sex with his Great Dane named Christie Brinkley.
Armand Pacher, 65, of Aventura, Fla., was charged seven months ago after a University of Florida veterinarian concluded that the dog showed signs of sexual abuse, and had apparent human sperm inside her urine.
Pacher's defense attorney had blasted the case, saying it was built on the false conclusions of Dr. Melinda Merck, a well-known forensic veterinarian who was also a state witness in the failed case against a South Miami-Dade teen accused of mutilating cats.
Defense lawyer Jeffrey Weiner hired six experts that ripped apart Merck's findings.
"This is not an occasion of joy for me. Although the prosecution has finally decided to say 'just kidding, never mind,' my life has been fully destroyed," Pacher said afterward, noting that stories of his arrest have been read on the Internet around the world.
In dropping the case, Miami-Dade prosecutors were careful not to cast blame on Merck.
"The state's decision to (drop) the case is based upon the lack of presently available physical evidence, and not on any concerns that Dr. Melinda Merck was either incorrect or exploitative," Assistant State Attorney Michael Von Zamft wrote in his final memo on the case.
Prosecutors consulted with the Oregon Humane Society's director of investigations, who agreed with Merck that the sample from the dog was likely a human sperm head. But the sample size was too small for a forensic crime lab to test and confirm.
Merck is director of veterinary forensic sciences for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She also co-founded a veterinary forensic science training program — dubbed "Animal CSI" — at the University of Florida.
As one of the country's most prominent forensic veterinarians, Merck helped federal prosecutors build the dogfighting case against NFL star Michael Vick, who served 18 months in prison.
Pacher, a retired globe-trotting insurance executive, faced up to five years in prison. He came under suspicion after taking the 2 1/2-year-old Great Dane to the university's animal medical center for eye surgery.
A vet technician asked him over the phone about the dog's health and Pacher allegedly said: "She doesn't seem to enjoy it as much when we have sex. Maybe it's because I have not been as energetic lately, and that's why she is not enjoying it as much."
Pacher insists he was joking. The tech notified superiors, Merck examined the dog and the criminal investigation began.