Dog sentenced to death
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.”