Judge: Veteran's dog, Dutch, should be euthanized; Internet reports far from truth

Judge decries 'lynch mob mentality'

MONTROSE, Colo. - A municipal judge says a military veteran's dog should be put down after biting its former owner in November, but he says no action should occur until appeals are complete.

The dog's current owner, Jeremy Aguilar, was sentenced Thursday to pay $1,000 in restitution over the November attack. In addition to restitution, Aguilar received a one-year suspended sentence as follows:

  • 20 days in jail - 18 days suspended and two days served
  • $500 fine, $250 suspended
  • surrender the animal to Animal Control

Montrose Animal Control said Aguilar left his dog, Dutch, an American Allaunt, in the care of its former owner while he went out of town. Animal control officers said the woman was trying to break up a fight between Dutch and another dog when Dutch attacked her.

The City of Montrose investigation revealed the woman responded to a commotion in her back yard and discovered that Dutch was involved in a fight with a pit bull. The victim struck Dutch with her hands in an unsuccessful attempt to 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, using the dog’s collar.

Dutch again attacked the other dog, biting it on the leg. The victim succeeded in pulling Dutch away and into her home where she released the dog. 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, according to the City of Montrose investigation.

The victim’s medical expenses resulting from the attack now total $28,027.

Aguilar argued the former owner had struck Dutch with a metal pole first.

Brown noted that Internet postings have resulted in threats of violence against the victim with no apparent attempt by the defendant to correct the accounts or to mitigate threats against the victim. Aguilar  was instructed to refrain from further Internet postings that could result in harassment or intimidation of the victim.

Judge Richard Brown said Aguilar hadn't shown much remorse and, though the defendant was not directly responsible for the Internet stories and their repercussions, he had set in motion the release of information that whipped up a mob mentality, the Montrose Daily Press reported.  

"The impression created on the Internet is far different than reality," Brown said. "You didn't do it, but people have done it for you. What's been created is a lynch mob mentality."

Brown took a dim view of erroneous reports posted on the Internet that were not backed up by facts.

"What seems to have come across is that the victim savagely and mercilessly beat the dog for no reason at all," but there is no evidence to support that contention, Brown said.

Dutch was registered as Aguilar's service dog after the attack but initial Internet reports identified the dog as a service dog at the time of the attack.

The woman who was attacked had raised Dutch since he was a puppy and kept him two years before giving him to Aguilar.

The judge found no evidence of provocation on the part of the former owner. 

Aguilar's defense attorney indicated her intent to appeal the judge's ruling.

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