Guy James is fighting for his dog’s life.
Congo, his German shepherd has been deemed dangerous by a judge and will be put down after an attack on a landscaper.
James, a New Jersey man, said that Congo was defending and protecting his wife, and that Congo is a friendly dog and has never had any history of violence. But animal control officers said that Congo’s attack was unprovoked.
The man who was attacked won a $250,000 insurance settlement as a result of his injuries.
James said that the landscaper, Giovanni Rivera, and another worker disobeyed his instructions to not get out of the car until he put away Congo and the other dogs. He stated that the workers got there an hour before they were scheduled to and they came when the dogs were outside eating.
Rivera and the other worker got out of the car and the dogs began to bark. James said that the worker hit the dogs with a metal rake, and James’ wife told him to stop. Rivera, who is afraid of dogs, grabbed James’ wife from behind to protect himself from the dogs and pulled her to the ground which caused her to scream. Congo then started to bite and scratch Rivera and the other dogs began biting him also.
James called off the dogs, and Rivera was treated for his bites at the hospital.
Since the incident, Congo has been at an animal shelter and James said that he is depressed and anxious and has to be hand-fed or he will not eat.
The James’ lawyer said the attack was provoked, and that under New Jersey law, the dogs had a right to protect themselves and their family.
But the municipal prosecutor said the family is responsible and should have kept their dogs under control and were negligent.
A dog behavior expert testified that the dogs’ attack was provoked. She wrote, “Based on these threats (unfamiliar individuals, perceived threatening position, the attack on the puppies with a metal rake, grabbing the owner from behind and pulling to the ground) the dogs were compelled to defend themselves and their owner.”
Various neighbors that have had experience with Congo and the other dogs also stated that the dogs are “happy dogs” and are friendly.
The judge is expected to place his ruling on the record on Tuesday.
James said he has received thousands of letters and e-mails supporting him and Congo. He said he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling to Superior Court.
Some animal experts and animal control officers said that Congo’s behavior was exceedingly aggressive in the attack. They said that Congo initiated the attack, and that they have concerns that Congo continued to bite and attack Rivera instead of just biting him once. They all agreed that the James should be held responsible for not controlling their dogs.
One animal expert said, “The reason the guy got bit was he was afraid of the dogs. He was the aggressor, grabbing the woman. In that action to a dog, he’s reading it as an aggressive action. A German shepherd will die for his master. All he was doing was protecting his pack. The owners were negligent. They deserve to be sued but they don’t deserve to have the dog put down.”
Source: The Times
(Thanks Irene and Stattwit)