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MONROE - A Monroe County judge granted a temporary restraining order today to stay the execution of two Sylvania Township dogs until after a hearing is held on Tuesday.
The dogs' owners also confirmed an appeal was filed with the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Janni Juhasz owns a male husky mix named Bugger, while her daughter Katalin 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.
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 granted the stay after the motion was refiled today.
An attorney with the Lexus Project, a national organization based in New York that provides legal defense for dogs, had been on the case since Wednesday and crafted the first motion, but she withdrew because of illness. Sajid Kahn, the Juhaszes original attorney from APEX Legal Group in Monroe, has been rehired.
“It’s not over, but we’re definitely breathing a little easier" having the restraining order in place, Mrs. Juhasz said today.
The hearing to determine if the stay of execution for Nala and Bugger will be continued is set for Tuesday at 2 p.m. in circuit court.