Dog sentenced to death

Jeremiah Aguilar breaks down in tears Thursday morning after a Montrose municipal judge ruled that Aguilar’s dog, Dutch, must be euthanized after mauling a woman last November. Aguilar also was ordered to pay $500 and serve two days in jail because of “the utter lack of remorse you have for the victim,” Judge Richard Brown said. The victim, whose medical expenses are more than $28,000, has been threatened through an Internet campaign sympathetic to the dog, which the judge condemned.



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Jeremiah Aguilar breaks down in tears Thursday morning after a Montrose municipal judge ruled that Aguilar’s dog, Dutch, must be euthanized after mauling a woman last November. Aguilar also was ordered to pay $500 and serve two days in jail because of “the utter lack of remorse you have for the victim,” Judge Richard Brown said. The victim, whose medical expenses are more than $28,000, has been threatened through an Internet campaign sympathetic to the dog, which the judge condemned.

During a Montrose court hearing Thursday morning, the victim, center, of a vicious dog attack last November still wears a brace on her hand that sustained a compound fracture and the severing of an artery.



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During a Montrose court hearing Thursday morning, the victim, center, of a vicious dog attack last November still wears a brace on her hand that sustained a compound fracture and the severing of an artery.

MONTROSE—A dog that mauled his former owner will be euthanized and his current owner jailed for two days, a judge ordered Thursday after taking note of an Internet campaign that whipped up a “lynch-mob mentality” against the victim.

Municipal Judge Richard Brown ordered the Montrose County Animal Services Department to hold the dog, Dutch, pending a promised appeal by Dutch’s owner, Jeremiah Aguilar.

Brown took pains several times during sentencing to point out that he wasn’t accusing Aguilar, a U.S. Army veteran, of conducting the Internet campaign to save Dutch and savage the victim by suggesting she beat Dutch until the dog attacked her. He also noted, though, that while money was being solicited on behalf of Dutch and Aguilar, none was being solicited on behalf of the injured woman.

The medical expenses for the victim amounted to $28,028.95, Brown said.

Though he found no reason to believe that Dutch had been trained to attack, Brown fined Aguilar $500 and ordered jail because of “the utter lack of remorse you have for the victim.”

Aguilar and his attorney, Amy Ondos, had no comment. Ondos was researching the proper venue for an appeal of the municipal court ruling, she said.

Brown on Jan. 17 ordered the dog euthanized after he found Aguilar guilty of harboring a vicious animal.

On Thursday, he also ordered Aguilar to pay $1,000 in 
restitution, the maximum amount under municipal jurisdiction.

Brown also acknowledged the “unique family situation” connecting Aguilar to the victim. Aguilar’s brother, Joe, is engaged to her. Aguilar alluded to that as well, telling Brown that his wife dressed the victim’s wounds and that if the marriage went forward, she would be his children’s aunt.

“I desensitized everything” about the attack, Aguilar told the judge. “I feel bad and I don’t wish any of this on her or anybody.”

He defended Dutch, a 107-pound American Allaunt, as “not what they’re saying he is.”

He took Dutch to a Department of Veteran Affairs medical center in Oklahoma City for training as a service dog after the attack, Aguilar said.

The dog’s presence calms him, Aguilar told Brown.

Attacks on the victim on various websites were frightening and deeply hurtful, the victim said, noting that they affected her relationship with her fiance—Joe Aguilar—as well.

Joe Aguilar, whom she never identified as Jeremiah Aguilar’s brother—sometimes slept with a gun when he was particularly worried about threats posted on websites or other locations, she said.

The victim’s hand was still in a brace as a result of the attack, which resulted in a compound fracture and severing of an artery, inflicted in the attack by a dog “that I used to love,” she said.

Brown recounted the testimony of the trial that detailed how the victim was alone in the house when Dutch got into a fight with another dog, a pit bull.

Dutch wouldn’t respond when she called him off, even though she had owned him for two years and raised him from a pup, the victim said.

He paid no attention when she hit him with a tiki pole, which snapped on contact, Brown said.

Grabbing Dutch’s leash, she hauled him back into the house and was wiping clean his bloodstained muzzle when Dutch attacked her, Brown said.

The dog forced the victim to the ground and bit her repeatedly and to the bone in some cases for several minutes until she fled to the bedroom.

Dutch repeatedly tried to break in the door and, when he was unable to, damaged several items of furniture, Brown said.

At one point in recounting the series of events, Brown went silent, letting a minute tick off the clock to demonstrate a fraction of the time under which the woman was under Dutch’s attack, a length the victim said she could only estimate as 10 to 15 minutes.

Brown said he expected the victim’s Internet critics would complain “that you didn’t have a stopwatch” to time the incident.

All of the victim’s wounds were inflicted from behind, putting to lie the notion that she was attacking the dog, Brown said.

“It was a prolonged attack,” he said, and had a child been involved, “We would be talking about a death.”



COMMENTS

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I am acquainted with Gary Harmon, generally enjoy his writing and miss his columns. Having said that, I am disappointed at the way this story leaves so many important unanswered questions it seems likely to be misleading. Let’s inject a bit of common sense.
I’m not at all sure the bitten person should be classified a “victim”. For example if the dog (“Dutch”) is so dangerous why did the former owner — apparently we don’t get to know her name — part with him instead of having him put down pursuant to municipal ordinance 6-2-9 (A)Vicious animals? Harmon didn’t say so, but the pit bull Dutch got in a fight with was apparently also owned by the “victim”. So she likes pit bulls and didn’t have the allegedly dangerous Dutch put down. This whole thing smacks suspiciously of a dysfunctional family soap opera.
This paragraph appeared in the news at Examiner.com (http://exm.nr/VpdoPj): “Dutch was trained and certified as a service dog after the incident. He also passed the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. AKC CGC evaluator Sandie Wyman said that Dutch is “anything but aggressive.” ”I am the CGC evaluator that tested this sweet dog,” Wyman stated. “He did pass with flying colors and even gave me a kiss afterwards. This means that he will receive a real title from AKC stating he can now visit elderly people at nursing homes.” Is that true? If so, it gives a lie to Judge Brown’s “findings”. And if it is true, why didn’t Harmon find out and tell us so? A far more complete version of the story appeared at dogheirs.com (http://bit.ly/UHA90B).
“Victim”? I think not. The dog was VOLUNTARILY in her care, so she was responsible for its behavior. If it had killed a child, she, not Jeremy Aguilar (who wasn’t even there), would have been held liable. Why did she voluntarily agree to take care of the dog, if it was already known by her to be vicious? That’s what most lawyers would call an assumed risk, since, as previous owner, she obviously knew the dog very well.
Any child knows you don’t get into the middle of a dog fight. In this case the “victim” got in the middle of a fight between her current pit bull and her former American Allaunt and incurred $28,028.95 in medical expenses. So who started the fight, her current dog or her former dog?
I am offended by Brown’s ruling which I believe is prima facie unconstitutional. $1,000 restitution for an assumed risk? $500 and two days jail for not having enough “remorse”? So now judges can fine people for what they think somebody else is thinking, and because they resent what’s on the Internet? Asinine on its face.
I don’t know if Dutch should be killed, or if the “victim” has issues. But I do believe Judge Brown should be fired. There is no place for that kind of constitution-disregarding arrogance on the bench.

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