Aguilar, convicted earlier this year of possessing a dangerous animal, a violation of the city’s code, was ordered to hand Dutch over to the city animal shelter for euthanasia following a Nov. 14, 2012 attack in which Dutch was accused of attacking the dog’s former owner, leading to $28,000 in medical expenses.
A Municipal Court warrant was issued when Aguilar failed to appear at an April hearing, while an appeal for Dutch’s euthanasia order was being processed through the Montrose County court. That court order read the animal would not be harmed pending the outcome of the appeal.
But on Friday, May 24, Associate Montrose County Judge Julie Huffman, who is presiding over Aguilar’s appeal, issued an order stating if Aguilar returns to Montrose and “submits himself to the orders of the trial court no later than 4 p.m. Monday May 27,” the court would not dismiss the appeal.
Quoting previous court rulings, Huffman’s order declared that “a defendant who has voluntarily fled and remains a fugitive from justice during appeal, is not entitled to appellate relief.”
A hearing in municipal court has been set for June 6, at 10 a.m.; Aguilar has asked, however, that the hearing be moved to this week due to a scheduling conflict, according to Montrose City Attorney Stephen Alcorn.
An exact date and time of the hearing was not available at press time and an employee in the city’s clerk’s office declined to give further details Wednesday morning.
Aguilar posted bond Monday, and Alcorn said the maximum amount would have been around $1,000, but that the exact amount was also not obtainable from the city clerk’s office Wednesday.
Aguilar is also scheduled for a June 7 hearing in Montrose County Court at 2:30 p.m., according to court records.
Last month attorneys representing the city sought a dismissal of the appeal citing the fact that Aguilar was not in compliance with the municipal court.
While Aguilar has turned himself in, questions about the dog’s location remain unanswered, and according to Alcorn, until the animal is handed over, Aguilar is still defying a court order.
“Where is his dog, and why is it not at the city shelter?” Alcorn asked. “Nothing will happen to the dog until the appeal is final.” He added that Aguilar is “hardly in conference.”
Aguilar testified earlier this year that he suffers flashbacks, extreme fear, anxiety and loss of security from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Dutch helps him cope with his condition. Aguilar maintains that Dutch is a service dog, a contention that has drawn hundreds of thousands of comments on social media worldwide and hundreds of thousands of signatures on various petitions to high-ranking local, state and national officials.
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