MONTROSE, Colo. - A Montrose dog and its owner are believed to have left the area just days before a deadline to appeal a court order which requires the owner to turn the dog over to authorities.
Police say they have not seen Jeremiah Aguilar or his dog Dutch in the past couple of weeks, according to KJCT8.
Aguilar ignored the judge’s order to hand over Dutch to Montrose Animal Control on Feb. 14 after the Montrose court ordered the dog to be put down.
The city gave Aguilar a Feb. 28 deadline to file an appeal or to turn in the dog. If an appeal isn’t filed or the dog isn’t turned in by Thursday’s deadline, then legal action may be taken against him, the television station reported.
This comes on the heels of information that the city is willing to placing Dutch in a sanctuary in Colorado or Utah, rather than putting the dog down.
-- Dutch the Dog’s 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 tiki torch pole, which immediately bent and was discarded. She eventually pulled Dutch away from the other dog, using the dog’s collar.
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.
Judge Richard Brown took a dim view of several erroneous reports posted on the Internet that were not backed up by facts, the Montrose Daily Press reported.
"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.
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.
Aguilar was sentenced to pay $1,000 in restitution to the woman and spend 20 days in prison. 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