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Published: Friday, 3/14/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Dog owners seek restraining order in Monroe County

BY ALEXANDRA MESTER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Evidence photos on a table at the Sylvania Township home of Janni Juhasz show one of the two dogs set to die in a stall with the slain pigs in Bedford Township, at left,  and blood on the muzzle of Nala, a husky that’s owned by Mrs. Juhasz’s daughter, Katalin Juhasz. Evidence photos on a table at the Sylvania Township home of Janni Juhasz show one of the two dogs set to die in a stall with the slain pigs in Bedford Township, at left, and blood on the muzzle of Nala, a husky that’s owned by Mrs. Juhasz’s daughter, Katalin Juhasz.
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MONROE — The Sylvania Township owners of two dogs accused of killing two Michigan show pigs have filed for an emergency temporary restraining order to prevent their pets from being killed while they put together an appeal.

Michelle Radloff, the new attorney for Janni Juhasz and her daughter, Katalin Juhasz, said the motion was filed in Monroe County Circuit Court on Thursday, although the county clerk’s office could not confirm the filing as it had not yet been processed.

Ms. Radloff said the motion needs to be granted by a judge for the restraining order to be in force.

Mrs. Juhasz owns a male husky mix named Bugger, while Ms. Juhasz owns a female husky named Nala.

The pair of canines escaped their home May 2 and were found inside a barn on Whiteford Center Road just north of the Ohio-Michigan state line and a little more than a mile from their home.

Two show-quality pigs owned by Stephanie Sonnenberg had been killed and a third was injured.

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Ms. Sonnenberg said she witnessed the dogs attacking the surviving pig, and said one of them tried to attack her. She was able to restrain the dogs until Monroe County Animal Control arrived to take custody of them.

Nala and Bugger were deemed guilty in July at a “show cause” hearing held in Bedford Township as directed by the Michigan Dog Law of 1919. The law requires dogs that injure or kill livestock be destroyed, so the dogs have been on death row since then and while their owners appealed the case.

Judge Michael LaBeau, of Monroe County Circuit Court, upheld the dogs’ guilt on Feb. 21 in the first appeal.

The end of the day today is the deadline for the Juhaszes to file an appeal with the state court. But Ms. Radloff came on board just Wednesday when the Lexus Project, a national organization based in New York that provides legal defense for dogs, agreed to take on the case.

“What we are asking for at this point is some time to finish making our arguments,” Ms. Radloff said. “We just don’t have time to get an appeal ready in the next 24 hours.”

The motion also requests an extension of time to April 4 to file the official appeal. The deadline for the dogs to be spared is also the end of the day today, which was the impetus behind the request for the restraining order.

The court document notes the Juhaszes “will be irreparably harmed” if Nala and Bugger are killed before an appeal can be filed as the dogs are “unique and of special value.”

“An appeal is useless if the dogs have been euthanized,” Ms. Radloff said. “Once these dogs are put down, it’s done. There’s no reversing that.”

Philip Goldsmith, who is the attorney for both Bedford Township and Monroe County, has said previously the dogs would not be killed until Monday.

He is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Judge LaBeau also could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Contact Alexandra Mester: amester@theblade.com, 419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.



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