Saturday, March 18, 2017

Michigan: Sylvan Lake man faces court hearing over pit bull attack

MICHIGAN -- A Sylvan Lake man faces a hearing in 48th District Court in Bloomfield Township after his dog, suspected to be at least part pit bull, attacked another dog last month.

Under the city’s dangerous animal ordinance, dog-owner John Hunger will need to present evidence at the April 3 hearing before Judge Diane D’Agostini on why his dog should not by destroyed, said John Martin, city manager and acting police chief.

At a packed City Council meeting March 8, Robyn James, the owner of the dog that was attacked, thanked the community for the outpouring of support.

She said the dog is recovering after suffering extensive injuries.

On Feb. 23, James was walking the dog in the city, with her infant child in a stroller, when Hunger’s dog charged at them, she said. She grabbed the 7-month-old infant out of the stroller but was not able to protect her pet.

“The sound of my dog almost dying -- I can’t get that out of my head. Next time, we might not be so lucky,” she said.

Hunger could not be reached for comment.

Martin said Hunger voluntarily removed the dog from the community.

Several neighbors spoke of fear in the community after the dog attack, and questioned why city officials had not been more forthcoming with details about the incident.

Several said Hunger’s dog had attacked other pets and people.

Martin said if the dog had been involved in other attacks, they were not reported to the city.

He said the city and Police Department could not divulge much information about the case because it was an ongoing investigation.

“The city of Sylvan Lake is not judge and jury,” he said, adding that it will be up to the judge to rule on the case.

A city ordinance bans the ownership of dogs that are “predominantly” pit bull, he said. Oakland County animal control officials are still in the process of determining how much pit bull Hunger’s dog has, although it’s a moot point now because Hunger voluntarily removed the dog from the community.

D’Agostini could still order that the dog be destroyed, even though it’s no longer in Sylvan Lake, because the attack occurred in that city and the court has jurisdiction over its dangerous animal ordinance.

The dog should have been kept at the shelter. They they could have ordered it to be euthanized. Now they don't know where it's at and he'll never willingly hand it over if he knows they're going to put it down.

(The Oakland Press - March 16, 2017)

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