TWO PIT BULLS that killed another dog and injured a Winslow woman in August were ordered to be euthanized in a decision issued Tuesday by a judge at the Capital Judicial Center.
One of the owners, Danielle Jones, asked for a second chance for the two dogs – Bentley and Kole – that attacked and killed a smaller dog, Fergie Rose, that was being walked by Sharron Carey on Aug. 30 on Lucille Street in Winslow.
Jones testified Tuesday on the second day of her non-jury trial on two civil violations that accuse her of keeping a dangerous dog. The state sought to have the dogs euthanized, one of the options under the state statute governing “Keeping a Dangerous Dog.”
District Court Judge Eric Walker did not grant Jones’ request to spare the dogs and ordered that they be euthanized within 30 days. He also imposed two $250 fines on Jones.
“It’s all about justice for Fergie,” said Sharron Carey’s husband, Bill, who sat through the trial. “No one wants to see dogs put down. That’s horrible.”
But the Careys, through the state, sought that remedy.
Sharron Carey said she relives the attack every day.
“It’s something that should not have happened,” she said.
The Careys declined to speak further, citing advice from their attorneys since they are contemplating filing a lawsuit over the matter.
Two video surveillance cameras on Jones’ home captured images of Carey as she was walking her dog along the sidewalk and Fergie Rose lunging toward the home, followed shortly thereafter by Jones’ two pit bulls streaking across the lawn to reach them.
Jones testified Tuesday that she ran from the backyard through her house to reach the sounds of screaming and barking on Aug. 30 and saw Carey swinging and kicking and hitting Bentley and Kole on the head as they tugged and pulled at Fergie Rose, a Boston terrier.
Jones testified she got in the middle of the dogs and twice handed Fergie Rose back to Carey. The third time, Jones carried Fergie Rose to Jones’ own car before returning to get her dogs under control.
Jones testified that she is experienced as a dog handler. She and the dogs’ co-owner, Brandon Ross, operate The Muddy Paw Grooming Spa & Self Service Dog Wash LLC in Winslow, which grooms15-20 animals a day.
A neighbor and a firefighter took Fergie Rose to a veterinary hospital, where the 10-month-old dog died of her injuries within about 10 minutes.
In her closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Tracy DeVoll said: “It was pack mentality. (The two dogs) worked together, and there was nothing that stopped them, not even the owner. They’ve proven themselves to be dangerous; they’ve proven themselves to be deadly.”
Charles T. Ferris, the attorney for Jones and Ross, who faces the same charges but whose trial has not yet been held, said the owners would be willing to muzzle and tether the animals and to take Bentley to an animal behaviorist.
“My clients are willing to abide by any order that this court contemplates in order to keep the dogs alive,” Ferris said in his closing argument.
In the end, however, Walker said he concluded that rather than the “dog fight” described by Ferris, the case involved “an escape and a vicious attack on a much smaller dog where her owner was injured in an attempt to protect her dog.”
He said he found that Carey suffered serious bodily injury when she was bitten on the hands and scratched during the attack, and that Bentley and Kole were the same two dogs involved in an earlier unprovoked attack that injured a younger, smaller dog during which Ross was bitten by one of his own dogs.
“The fencing solution that defendants have suggested gives the court no comfort it would prevent escape,” Walker said, adding that Jones “had firsthand knowledge that her dogs were dangerous” but was “unable to contain her dogs and prevent them from attacking and killing the dog.”