The Morgan Hill man accused of abusing his ailing dog was
arrested at a downtown bar after he failed to show up for a court
appearance, police said.
The Morgan Hill man accused of abusing his ailing dog was arrested at a downtown bar after he failed to show up for a court appearance, police said.
Kevin Fifield, 59, is back in custody in the Santa Clara County jail after his arrest Thursday, according to authorities.
Fifield was scheduled to appear at the South County Courthouse for a hearing related to his ongoing animal cruelty case at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. However, he was not present when his case was called in the courtroom, and Judge Ray Cunningham issued a $500,000 warrant for his arrest, Morgan Hill Police Sgt. Jerry Neumayer said.
“We went out and looked for him, and found him at the M & H Tavern,” Neumayer said. Police found Fifield at the bar about 3 p.m. after inquiring at the hotel where he was staying where he often frequents in town.
Fifield was taken to the courthouse for his hearing, where the proceedings were suspended as his attorney doubted his competency to stand trial, according to Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Amy Cornell. Superior Court Judge Ray Cunningham continued the case to a hearing Oct. 6 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, where doctors will evaluate him.
Fifield’s dependence on alcohol and prescription drugs need to be addressed before a trial can proceed, attorney Milton Gonzalez said.
“Mr. Fifield has chemical dependency issues which affect his mental and emotional stability,” Gonzalez said. “Until these issues are addressed we cannot go forward with the case.”
The latest hearing was part of Fifield’s ongoing case in which he is accused of dragging Snowflake, his 11-year-old, 25-pound Australian cattle dog, across the sidewalk near Monterey Road and Second Street July 27. Police said witnesses who called to report the incident said the dog appeared sick and unable to move on its own.
When police arrived at the scene, in response to phone calls from witnesses, Fifield allegedly struggled briefly before officers were able to arrest him.
Fifield faces felony charges of animal cruelty and resisting or deterring an officer, to which he pleaded not guilty last month.
At a bail hearing Sept. 10, Fifield’s wife Marcy Powers explained that Snowflake suffers from a cancerous tumor around her throat, and was recently taken off her chemotherapy medication. The dog has also suffers from a spinal birth defect that has compromised vertebrae in her neck, making her susceptible to further injuries, Powers said.
As a condition of his release from jail following his July 27 arrest, Fifield was ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from Snowflake at all times, except during short visits supervised by a veterinarian or other animal care professional.
Powers and other witnesses said at the Sept. 10 hearing that Fifield plays with Snowflake frequently, and they have never seen him hurt the dog. Powers testified that the dog has missed Fifield since the order that keeps them separated was issued.
Snowflake lives at Fifield’s Morgan Hill home, and Fifield had to stay at a local hotel while out on bail in order to meet the conditions of the protective order keeping him away from the dog, his attorney Milton Gonzalez said at last month’s hearing.