Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 | 2 a.m.
- Dog that killed baby still caged in Henderson (06-22-2012)
- State Supreme Court offers hope for Onion in whether it should be euthanized (5-29-2012)
- Rescue group pleads with judge to spare killer dog (5-25-2012)
- Judge to consider motions regarding dog that killed baby (5-21-2012)
- Judge says dog that killed 1-year-old boy can be euthanized (5-11-2012)
Onion, a family dog that killed a 1-year-old Henderson boy in April, still lives in a cage, waiting for the Nevada Supreme Court to decide his fate.
Since the matter went to the state’s high court in June, the city of Henderson has been unable to euthanize the dog, which has been declared vicious under city ordinance.
“There’s no change. We’re still waiting,” said Keith Paul, a spokesman for the Henderson Police Department.
So the 120-pound, 6-year-old Mastiff/Rhodesian ridgeback continues to wait on what might be considered an animal version of death row. He’s kept in two large connected cages at the Henderson Animal Control and Care Facility.
“He can easily stand and walk around and move from one side to the other,” Paul said. “I know he’s seen regularly by a veterinarian.”
It appears Onion could wait in those cages two months or more until the Supreme Court formally begins studying the matter, a court spokesman said.
Onion has been under the care of Henderson animal control officers since April 27, following the deadly attack on Jeremiah Eskew-Skahan, who was at his grandmother’s home to celebrate his first birthday.
The boy reportedly crawled to the dog and pulled on Onion’s fur to stand up, police said. The dog latched onto the boy’s face with his jaws and began shaking him, police said. The boy died at University Medical Center.
After the tragedy, the boy’s grandmother and owner of the dog, Elizabeth Keller, signed papers turning Onion over to an animal control officer.
The city was expected to euthanize Onion, in accordance with its vicious dog ordinance.
“He killed a 1-year-old boy,” Paul said. “Barring a court order, the city law is clear. ... When a dog kills or seriously injures a human, which this dog did and was declared vicious, city law stipulates he would then be euthanized.”
But a group called the Lexus Project intervened.
Lexus, an Oceanside, N.Y., nonprofit organization, has offered to provide funds to place and care for the dog in an animal sanctuary in Yoder, Colo., near Denver. Lexus filed a motion for a temporary restraining order in Clark County District Court to stop the city from euthanizing the animal.
Judge Joanna Kishner denied Lexus’ motion at a hearing in late May. In her ruling, Kishner did not determine what action the city should take with the dog but said Lexus had no legal standing to take the dog because the city now owns it.
Paul said nothing has changed with the animal’s status since Lexus filed its first documents with the Supreme Court in June.
Court records show that a nonpublic mediation attempt between the city and Lexus failed in June. The next scheduled action in court isn’t until September.
Bill Gang, public information officer for the Supreme Court, said Thursday the high court has scheduled Lexus attorneys to file briefs with the court by Sept. 24. In the brief, Lexus is expected to lay out its legal arguments for being able to take over custody of the dog from the city.
“This is just the start of the formal process,” Gang said.
After that, the city’s attorneys would have 30 days to respond to Lexus’ brief, Gang said.
Lexus would then get to reply in writing. After that, it would be up to the Supreme Court to decide what to do.
“They can decide it on the briefs; they can schedule oral arguments. Depending on what other motions come forward, they can rule on those,” Gang said.