Court orders dogs out of city
Owner requests pets be euthanized
In what proved to be a very emotional trial, the final outcome was that a Minot woman’s two pet dogs will be euthanized. The case was heard in front of Municipal Court Judge Ashley Beall Wednesday morning.
Colby Cameron had been cited for Vicious Animals, a Class B misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of thirty days in jail, a fine of $1,500, or both. Police were called to the neighborhood where Cameron resides on Nov. 24 in response to a report of dogs running loose and a person having sustained a bite from one of the dogs.
During Wednesday’s trial, body camera footage from the responding Minot police officer was shown. The video showed the dogs, which were outside the home and not contained by a fence, barking loudly and acting aggressively toward the officer who had been knocking on a door in the dark.
Testifying under oath, the officer called the moment “quite terrifying.” At one point he used a taser on one of the dogs. He told the court that it “shouldn’t allow the possibility” of the dogs running loose again.
According to neighbors, the dogs had a history of running loose and acting aggressively. At the time of the call to police the owner was away from her residence with the knowledge that the dogs were not at home.
Several photographs of the bite on the back of neighbor’s leg were introduced as evidence with one of the photographs held up for all in the courtroom to see. There was no blood or puncture wound, but rather a single red mark indicating where the dog made contact.
Minot Police Animal Control officers Bobby Roberts and Mary Lovlo both testified that the dogs “not be euthanized.” Roberts said he thought it best to have the dogs removed from the city. City of Minot Attorney Stefanie Stalheim told Judge Beall that it was the city’s position that the dogs be declared dangerous and removed from the city limits and that the owner pay all fees due at the city pound where the dogs have been kept since the incident.
Under the city’s new vicious animal ordinance, which went into effect Oct. 1, a number of conditions must be considered to allow an owner to retain troublesome pets. Those conditions include proof that the dog has been sterilized, has successfully completed an obedience training program and that the dog owner post signs on his property warning of the presence of a dangerous animal.
Wednesday’s appearance was Cameron’s second before the court. She appeared Nov. 28 and tearfully told the court that she didn’t want her dogs to be any trouble for her neighbors, that she had no home outside of the city to send them to and that she understood completely if the dogs had to be euthanized.
In response, the court allowed additional time for Cameron to find a solution that would satisfy the city and spare the dogs’ lives. In testimony Wednesday it was learned that Cameron had installed a kennel enclosure attached to the deck of her home for the purpose of containing her dogs and preventing them from roaming free. However, it was determined the enclosure would not be sufficient to insure that the dogs would not escape.
In making her ruling, Beall said she understood the love of an owner for a pet and told Cameron that, “it breaks my heart” to do so but the safety of Minot citizens must be considered and ordered the dogs to be removed from the city.
When asked about the possibility of the dogs remaining at the City Pound while a search for a new home outside the city be found, Roberts told the court that he did not know of any person or animal shelter that would accept animals considered dangerous and that the pound would only keep the dogs for an additional three days. At the end of that time the dogs would be subject to euthanization.
Cameron told the court that she preferred the entire matter come to an end, again stating that she did not want to subject her neighbors to any further anxiety or trouble. She requested that the court order the dogs to be euthanized as soon as possible.
Beall amended her order to reflect Cameron’s request and ruled that no fines or fees be imposed by the city. Cameron is still obligated to pay the cost of impounding the dogs, $15 per dog per day, and any charges incurred for euthanization. The dogs are a Labrador and a mixed breed, ages two and three.