MONTROSE - Judge Richard Brown ruled that Dutch, a 107-pound American Allaunt canine accused of biting a Montrose woman multiple times last year, must be euthanized.
The ruling came at a hearing on Thursday morning. Brown also ruled that the Dutch's owner, Jeremiah Aguilar, must pay a $500 fine, $1,000 in restitution and serve two days of jail time. Aguilar is planning to appeal the ruling.
Dutch will be transferred to the custody of the City of Montrose, where he will stay until the Aguilar's appeal is ruled upon.
POSTED ONLINE THURSDAY, FEB. 14, at 9A.M.
Judge to Rule on Fate of Dutch, the Mastiff Involved in a Vicious Attack on His Previous Owner, Sometime Today
MONTROSE – The fate of Dutch, a 107-pound American Allaunt canine accused of biting a Montrose woman multiple times last year, will be determined today.
The City of Montrose has suggested euthanasia.
Judge Richard Brown will sentence Dutch and his owner, Jeremiah Aguilar, a veteran, who was pronounced in violation of the city’s vicious animals ordinance at a hearing last month.
Attempts to reach Aguilar have been unsuccessful.
Montrose city staff has fielded more than 200 emails and phone calls about Dutch, whose story has evoked interest from around the globe. A "Save Dutch" page on Facebook, with a photo of a toddler draped over the sleeping dog, has raised over 20,000 “likes,” and passionate posts from supporters.
City staff has responded with documents and physical evidence from the attack supporting its contention that Dutch is a vicious dog. "Unfortunately, some of the information being circulated is either incomplete or incorrect,” according to the city's news release. “While city officials respect the rights of individuals to express their opinions in this matter, they also caution the public to consider details of the incident that were revealed in Municipal Court, through physical evidence, and testimony of the victim and other witnesses."
Other claims state Dutch was provoked into attacking the woman after she hit Dutch multiple times with her fists and with a metal pole.
According to city reports on the incident, which took place Nov. 14, Montrose Animal Control officers were notified by Montrose Memorial Hospital staff that a woman was being treated for "deep bite wounds" to her buttock, thigh and hand sustained in an attack by Dutch. The woman, Dutch’s previous owner, who was not identified, was caring for Dutch while Aguilar was away, had broken up a fight between Dutch and a pitbull in her backyard earlier in the day, striking Dutch in an unsuccessful attempt to free the pit bull. The woman then grabbed a "light-weight tiki torch pole," and struck Dutch one time before discarding the pole. She then pulled Dutch away from the pitbull, and took him home to clean blood from the dog's face.
"She began to clean blood from the dog’s face. The dog then bit the victim’s thigh, puncturing her thigh to the bone. She pried his jaws off of her thigh and attempted to run to safety in her bedroom. She tripped and fell before reaching the room. Dutch jumped on top of her and inflicted another deep bite wound to her buttock. While again attempting to free herself, she suffered a bite to her hand, severing an artery and causing a compound fracture to her middle finger," the city said in a news release.
“In any vicious animal case, our primary concern is for the safety of anyone who may come in contact with the animal in the future. This is the worst incident of an animal attack that I have seen. In the dozens of vicious animal cases I’ve investigated, I have never seen a case where the animal was as aggressive in pursuing the victim multiple times,” Montrose Animal Services Supervisor Mike Duncan said.
Following the attack, the woman took refuge in a nearby bedroom and called her fiancé, who came to her aid. She told investigators that she did not want to call police or an ambulance out of fear that the emergency responders would be attacked.
The woman’s fiancé and another man entered the home, along with the pit bull who had fought with Dutch, and a second fight broke out. According to testimony, Dutch attacked the pit bull again; this time, a board from a broken picture frame was used to free the pit bull.
The City Attorney's office pursued the case, and during a Jan. 17 hearing, Dutch and Aguilar were found guilty of violating the city’s vicious animals ordinance.
The ordinance also contains a possible fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to one year.
“Rehabilitation of the dog is one of the options in this case. The challenge is to try to predict how an animal will behave in the future, when it has already shown that it is capable of inflicting a vicious attack. It is easy to say that a dog won’t attack again. But if it does, the results, especially with a dog of this size, could be very serious, even life-threatening," Duncan said.
Meanwhile, online, a fight continues, with supporters on both sides of the issue. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 240,000 signatures were gathered on an online petition to the city's animal control office.
On Facebook, pictures and videos of Dutch have been uploaded, showing the animal interacting with kids in an Oklahoma mall, along with updates and details about the controversy.
Speaking to supporters through Facebook, Aguilar said he had received a memo, sent from the city to Judge Brown, recommending euthanization for Dutch "at the earliest date possible."
Support for saving Dutch mounted after news broke that he was a veteran’s service dog. Attempts to reach Aguilar about Dutch's certification as a service dog were unsuccessful.
City spokesperson David Spear said Dutch was not a service dog at the time of the attack, and that city staff was apprised of the designation last Friday.
Aguilar's sentencing is today at 10:30 a.m.
Follow The Watch on Twitter and its website for an update today on Montrose Municipal Court