Montrose man found not guilty in vicious dog case

Dutch returned to owner after trial

MONTROSE, Colo. - The owner of a dog that attacked its previous owner after she attempted to break up a fight between it and another dog has been found not guilty in the case.

Jeremiah Aguilar had been charged with ownership of a vicious animal after his dog, Dutch, repeatedly bit the woman.

A three-woman jury found Aguilar not guilty Friday night after an hour of deliberations, the Montrose Press reported.

The case received widespread attention in the media because Aguilar is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan.  He said his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder were eased by caring for Dutch. The  American allaunt wasn't registered as a service dog until after the attack.

-- The Investigation --

Montrose Animal Control said Aguilar left Dutch in the care of a former owner while he went out of town in November 2012. 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 that the woman heard a commotion in her backyard and discovered Dutch 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 hit the dog once with a light-weight aluminum tiki torch pole, which immediately bent and was discarded. She eventually pulled Dutch away from the other dog, using the dog’s collar.

Some Internet blogs described the aluminum pole as a metal rod.

Dutch attacked the other dog again, biting its leg. The woman pulled Dutch away and into her home. When she began to clean blood from Dutch’s face, the dog bit the woman’s thigh, puncturing it to the bone. After prying his jaws off of her leg, she attempted to run to her bedroom, but tripped and fell. Dutch jumped on top of her and inflicted another deep bite wound to her buttock.

When she attempted to remove herself, Dutch bit 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 totaled $28,027.

Aguilar argued the former owner had struck Dutch with a metal pole first, but the judge found no evidence of provocation on the part of the former owner.

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 originally ordered Dutch to be euthanized but Aguilar skipped town with the dog and the order was stayed.  Aguilar finally surrendered Dutch a few months ago, which cleared the way for the trial.

Dutch had been held by court order at the Montrose Animal Shelter while the case was pending.

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