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Fate of dog who bit woman becomes hotly contested issue

9:32 AM, Feb 10, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - In the city of Montrose, the fate of a large dog who bit a woman several times during an attack has become a hotly contested issue.

'Dutch' is an American Allaunt, a large breed of dog typically bred for guarding or hunting.

In November of 2012, Montrose Animal Control officers began investigating a woman who had been attacked by the dog, sustaining deep bite wounds to her buttock, thigh and hand.

As a result of the attack, Dutch and his owner, Jeremiah Aguilar, were found guilty of violating the city's vicious animal ordinance. Dutch will be sentenced on Feb. 14, and could face euthanasia.

Aguilar says he's had Dutch for four years and the dog has never shown any signs of aggression.

Aguilar is an Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran and has PTSD. Dutch is now registered as a service dog to help with Aguilar's PTSD, but the dog is still going through training and is not certified.

Dutch had begun training to be a service dog in Oklahoma before the attack. Those trainings stopped when Aguilar moved to Colorado. They began again after the attack. 

Aguilar says following the attack Dutch passed his Canine Good Citizen test administered through the American Kennel Club.

"If I thought he was vicious for one second, it would already be done," Aguilar said. "I would have taken what punishment I was to get. But it's just wrong because he's not vicious. He's a family dog. He loves everybody. He's friendly, he's kind and he doesn't have a vicious bone in him."

The city released an account of the dog attack on their website Friday, citing court documents and physical evidence. 

"I have been in this job for 15 years because I love to care for animals and protect them," Animal Services Supervisor Mike Duncan said. "But my job also includes protecting the public, and I also take that part of my job very seriously."

The following information comes from the city's account of the attack. 

Aguilar had left Dutch at the victim's home while he was out of town. The victim was also Dutch's previous owner.

On Nov. 14, the victim heard a commotion in her back yard and discovered that Dutch was fighting with a Pit Bull. The victim struck Dutch with her hands to try and free the Pit Bull. She then hit the dog once with a "light-weight tiki torch pole, which immediately bent and was discarded."

She was eventually able to pull Dutch away from the other dog and brought him inside.

That's when Animal Control says Dutch bit the victim's thigh, puncturing it to the bone. She tried to run to her bedroom, but tripped and fell. Dutch jumped on top of her, biting her again in the thigh, hand, and finger. 

The victim was able to make it to the bedroom and called her fiancé to come to her aid. In the meantime, the dog continued to try and enter the room, damaging several pieces of furniture in the home.

The victim did not call the police or ambulance out of fear that the emergency responders would be attacked.

When her fiancé and another man arrived to help her, they found Dutch sitting on the floor. When the same Pit Bull re-entered the home, Dutch began attacking the dog again. At that point, the second man hit Dutch repeatedly with a board from a broken picture frame to free the Pit Bull.

The city attorney's office reviewed the case and determined they had enough evidence to proceed with prosecution, based on the owner's violation of the city's vicious animal ordinance.

"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," Duncan said.

You can read the entire release from the city here.

9NEWS began looking into Dutch's case after receiving several news tips which indicated the dog was a service dog that had been punched, kicked, and hit with a metal pole for several minutes before then biting the victim. Those tips did not indicate there was a fight between two dogs leading up to the attack.

You can read that account here.

The city of Montrose says the Americans with Disabilities Act offers more protection from euthanasia for dogs that are service dogs.

Dutch was only registered as a service dog following the attack.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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