Jordan Liam Taylor, 34, denied the charge and was cleared after a jury heard him give evidence during a trial at Carlisle Crown Court.
Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson had told the court that the allegation was made by an off-duty police officer.
He told a jury that he witnessed Mr Taylor walking his dogs in Kendal on February 8 last year while ‘drunk’ and carrying a bottle of beer.
After stumbling and dropping the beer bottle, the jury were told, the defendant became aggressive towards his dog, lifting his dog Casper off the ground by his lead and dangling him so the animal choked.
After putting down the dog, said Mr Rogerson, the defendant then punched and kicked Casper. The police officer intervened ‘to protect’ the dog, the jury heard.
But in his evidence, Mr Taylor, of Garnett Croft, Kendal, insisted he was not drunk and that he did nothing to deliberately hurt his dog. February 8 had been an ordinary working day, he said, explaining that he worked as a butcher.
He described how he had been walking his dog near to Busher Walk, not far from Kendal’s Police Station, at around 6.30pm. He had a bottle of beer in his hand, he said, and intended to drink it as he exercised his dogs at the nearby river.
Asked by defence barrister Jimmy Vakil if he was drunk, Mr Taylor said: “No, no, no.”
“Were you incapacitated in any way by drink or drugs?” asked the barrister.
“Not at all,” replied the defendant.
Explaining what he said happened next, Mr Taylor said he stumbled and became tangled in the lead of one of his dogs. “I pulled him back because he was close to the road,” he said. He said he pulled Casper “sternly” away from the road.
He said that as he attempted to untangle himself from the lead, he inadvertently lifted the dog off the ground, to a height of around 12 inches. It was at this point that he was approached by the off-duty police officer.
He said he did not have sufficient time to look at the man’s warrant card, commenting: “He could have been impersonating a police officer.” Mr Taylor said: “I’d never hurt any animal, let alone my own dogs.”
Under cross-examination by Mr Rogerson, Mr Taylor denied that he had been “agitated and aggressive” towards his dog. He said the off-duty officer had been mistaken in what he believed he saw.
When the officer saw what he said was Mr Taylor kicking his dog, he had actually been lifting his left foot to untangle himself and when his dog pulled away towards the road he had told his dog he was not allowed on the road, said Mr Taylor.
“I was trying to teach the dog roads are off limits,” he said. Mr Taylor suggested the officer may have been confused by what he saw, which happened between two large trees in a poorly lit area.
The defendant was formerly listed as living at Burneside Road, Kendal, but gave a new address to the court.