UPDATE (2/20/2013): Dutch has unfortunately been sentenced to death. His current owner, Jeremy Aguilar, will face a $500 fine and 2 days in jail. However, Aguilar is planning an appeal, so there’s still time to sign his petition.
A beloved family pet and service dog named Dutch faces execution for allegedly attacking and injuring a woman after she beat him with her hands and a metal pole.
Dutch is a four-year-old, 107-pound American Allaunt. He is a service dog for Jeremy Aguilar, a disabled Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was among the first to come from outside Louisiana to help after Hurricane Katrina.
Dutch’s plight is dire. His sentencing in Montrose, Colorado is scheduled for Thursday, February 14th, and the court has asked the Aguilars to hand him over to animal control before then. If they don’t, they will have to surrender Dutch to authorities on Thursday.
According to DogHeirs:
Jeremy and Heather [Aguiar] offered to send Dutch through a rehabilitation program, agreeing to the judge that if the evaluator considered Dutch aggressive, that they would surrender him. The Aguilars say that the judge told them that would only be allowed if Dutch’s former owner would agree to it.
The Confrontation — The Former Owner’s Version
The Aguilars left Dutch with his former owner while they were out of town. The former owner admits that she beat Dutch, but claims that she was only trying to separate him from her family’s pit bull. She says Dutch attacked her dog and that she used violence against Dutch to try to end the dogfight.
According to the Montrose Daily Press, after attacking Dutch she dragged him into her house by the collar. She was cleaning the blood off of him when he bit her thigh. She claims that the bite went through to the bone. The former owner says that when she turned to get away she fell and Dutch bit her buttocks, again to the bone, and then bit her finger, breaking bones and severing an artery.
The City of Montrose decided to prosecute the case based on “physical evidence, and testimony of the victim and other witnesses.”
The Aguilars’ Case
After she was bitten, the former owner claims that she went to her bedroom, closed the door, and called for help. But she didn’t call the police or ambulance. She says she didn’t want to involve them “out of fear that the emergency responders would be attacked.” Instead, she called her fiance.
While she claims that she was bitten to the bone in two different places, she didn’t get any stitches.
Heather Aguilar says that Dutch’s former owner told her that she punched Dutch in the face until her hands hurt, then hit him with a metal pole. It is disputed whether she kicked Dutch as well.
Dutch was trained and certified as a service dog after the incident. He also passed the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. AKC CGC evaluator Sandie Wyman said that Dutch is “anything but aggressive.” ”I am the CGC evaluator that tested this sweet dog,” Wyman stated. “He did pass with flying colors and even gave me a kiss afterwards. This means that he will receive a real title from AKC stating he can now visit elderly people at nursing homes. I believe this dog is anything but aggressive. I am a certified dog trainer and have also done behavior objectives on animals. Dutch is anything but aggressive.”
Another experienced dog evaluator, Carrie Williams, praised Dutch’s sweet temperament. She is “a highly recognized and experienced retired dog trainer and evaluator who has evaluated for organizations including Therapy Dogs International (TDI) and the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Program (CGC).”
Williams said: “in my testing of dogs for TDI and the AKC and as a dog obedience instructor, I have dealt with a number of aggressive dogs. Dutch was not one of those dogs,” Carrie says. “Dutch is a sweetheart. In 26 years of training dogs, he is one of the nicest dogs I’ve ever come across. That is why I’m volunteering my time to try and save his life.”
After evaluating Dutch over three days, Williams said ”I truly believe this dog would not bite anyone unless he was provoked and felt like he was defending his life.” DogHeirs offers a detailed account of the tests Williams administered to test Dutch’s temperament. They seem likely to provoke even gentle dogs, but Dutch kept his cool.
The Aguilars took Dutch to a veterinarian after he was beaten. The vet’s report states that despite the pain he must have been suffering, Dutch “was extremely well-mannered and sweet in exam room. He did not require restraint during his exam, even when his abdomen, testicles and swollen face were palpated.”
If you believe that Dutch does not deserve to be killed for defending himself from a prolonged beating, please sign the Aguilars’ petition.
Photo credits: Dog Heirs. Dutch with a friend.