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Criminal charge dropped, but fate of pitbull in limbo
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The pitbull that bit off a woman’s finger in March is still being held in limbo at Warren County Animal Control.
Judge Bill Locke dismissed the criminal case Tuesday against the owner of the dog saying the case needs to be held in civil court, not criminal court.
Animal Control director Kim Pettrey said, “We still have the dog in quarantine. The owner didn’t break the law. They say we have to go back and do it in civil court. The only question the judge asked me was what would happen to the dog if we didn’t return it to the owner. I said it would be humanely euthanized. And, he said, ‘This needs to go to civil court. Case dismissed.’”
County Executive John Pelham said, “The issue with civil court is, and this is my opinion, I will have to get our county attorney to verify this, but, if it is civil this is going to have to be the lady who got her finger bitten off. I think it will have to be her to take the warrant out. We were going after it as criminal because we didn’t want to put this dog back out,” said Pelham.
“To hurt other people,” said Commissioner Diane Starkey.
Pettrey said, “There is actually a law on the books that a convicted felon who was violent cannot own a vicious animal. He’s not a convicted felon. He is going to court on another charge, but it is not a violence charge.”
Commissioner Teddy Boyd asked, “Can we go after him under the nuisance law as a dangerous dog? I know we have that in our rules.”
Pettrey said she would say he is dangerous because he bit someone. However, that is still to be determined by a civil court judge.
“It’s not like he might bite someone. He already has,” said Pettrey. “It still has to go before the judge.”
County Executive John Pelham said, “That’s where we were. We didn’t want to put that dog back out and risk it biting somebody else. I think it still must be the judge to make that determination.”
Brock said, “We are trying to do the right thing. That’s what Animal Control is about, protecting the public. Here’s a dog that has been locked up for that many months and the poor guy needs to be put down really. I mean, it’s not fair to him.”
Pettrey said, “If I may say, that is the happiest, lovingest dog. He has dog aggression but he doesn’t have kennel aggression that most dogs get when they have been in there that long. He just wags his tail. He is happy to see anybody who goes back there and talks to him. He is a nice dog. He bit somebody’s finger off but she was trying to break up a fight. You know, he didn’t just go out and bite her because he was wanting to bite a human. I wouldn’t want to turn him back, but, in the same sense I hate to put him down too.”
As of this time, no civil court date has been set.