Ronald Pagel and his attorney entered a plea of not guilty to misdemeanor assault on Monday, December 2, for pepper-spraying a woman and her dog while walking in the Pattee Canyon area on October 26.

Pagel, accompanied by his attorney Colin Stephens, appeared before Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech in justice court. According to court documents, Pagel was walking in the upper Pattee Canyon recreation area when he saw a golden retriever running towards him. Pagel, who says he has a fear of dogs, yelled at the dog's owner, Shenandoah Roath, to call the dog off. When the dog came within a few feet of Pagel, he sprayed it with pepper spray.

Court documents continue to state that when Roath saw Pagel pepper-spray her dog, she became angry and confronted him. She was walking beside him when Pagel turned towards her and sprayed her in the face with pepper spray, causing her pain.

At his court appearance, Pagel entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of misdemeanor assault. Deputy Missoula County Attorney asked the judge to ban Pagel from carrying pepper spray, at which point Pagel's attorney, Colin Stephens objected.

"Your honor, the pepper-spray condition seems a bit unnecessary at this point," Stephens said. "Mr. Pagel has a legitimate fear of dogs and goes walking a lot due to a health condition. I certainly think that simply regulating his use of pepper spray is appropriate without banning it altogether."

Judge Orzech disagreed, barring Pagel from possessing and using pepper spray. He was released on his own recognizance until his next court appearance.