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Judge says dog that killed 1-year-old boy can be euthanized

Group seeking to save dog plans to file appeal

Updated Friday, May 11, 2012 | 4:22 p.m.

Judge rules on euthanizing dog

KSNV coverage of judge's decision about euthanizing Onion, the dog that mauled a 1-year-old child, May 13, 2012.

Despite the efforts of a New York-based animal rescue group, Onion — the dog that attacked and killed a 1-year-old boy last month — is still set to be euthanized by Henderson Animal Control.

Clark County District Judge Joanna Kishner on Friday denied a temporary restraining order sought by the Lexus Project Inc. to save the animal from being destroyed.

Kishner ruled that although Lexus has set up a trust in New York that would provide funds to house the dog in an animal sanctuary in Colorado, Lexus does not have any property rights to the dog, so it had no legal right to seek the temporary restraining order.

Those property rights were relinquished to the city of Henderson by the dog’s former owner, Elizabeth Keller, after her 6-year-old, 120-pound Mastiff/Rhodesian mix, killed her grandson, Jeremiah Eskew-Skahan.

The boy was at his grandmother’s Henderson residence on Navarre Lane near Arroyo Grande Boulevard celebrating his birthday on April 27 when he crawled toward Onion to pet him, Henderson Police said.

The dog latched onto the boy’s head and began to shake him as the grandmother tried to pull the boy away from the dog, police said.

Henderson Fire paramedics took the toddler to St. Rose Dominican Hospital–Siena Campus, where he was transported by helicopter to University Medical Center. The boy died at the hospital Saturday. The family subsequently turned the dog over to Henderson Animal Control.

Keith Paul, a Henderson public information officer, said in a statement that the dog will be cared for at the Henderson Animal Control facility until the judge's order is signed. After that, he said, officials "will follow the city's law, which would include euthanizing the dog."

However, in making her ruling, Kishner advised Henderson attorneys that the city shouldn’t take any action until her order has been filed with the court, which is expected to take a few days.

After today’s hearing, which took about an hour and 45 minutes, Chandan Manensingh and Kathy McCarthy, Lexus’ attorneys, said they hoped the order would not be filed for at least a week, which would give them time to seek an appeal.

“I think Nevada took a step backwards,” Manensingh told reporters who crowded around after the hearing.

He said Lexus would continue to try to get the order reversed.

Meanwhile, McCarthy urged those who wished to save the dog to contact Henderson city officials.

According to Henderson’s city ordinance, once a dog is declared vicious, it can be euthanized after a 10-day observation period.

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  1. Exactly what is the purpose in killing Onion? To teach the dog a lesson? Or, more likely, to make some "feel" better. Killing Onion will not serve as a detterent to other dogs which is one reason we put humans to death for killing other humans. To me, killing Onion is "cruel & unusual" punishment that merely shows how crass we, as humans, can be to animals we have a duty to. Allow Onion to live out his natural life in a sanctuary where he will be a threat (if he ever was) to nobody.

  2. Think about this. If you were sleeping soundly, and something grabbed onto you and applied pressure, waking you, what would your reaction be?

    I'm sure there would be a variety of reactions, but in the case of a dog, who can say how many options there are except survival?

    To kill Onion when there is a humane and safe alternative is immoral. It is just that simple.

    It is up to the City politicians now. I will be watching to see if they are only interested in collecting and spending tax dollars, mine included, or doing something good that costs the taxpayer nothing.

    This is another issue to follow and add to my list to help my memory when elections come again.

  3. I love dogs and have 2 of them. In no way should this dog be around children or small adults ever again. I'm not mad at the dog, you can not blame the dog being a dog. I love dogs, except their life is bellow a humans. Dogs react to instinct and training. The dog resulted in instinct, and wether he was playing or attacking, it doesn't matter. If the Lexus project is willing to take the dog to a shelter and pay for it's care, god bless you. However, the animal should not be put in anytype of domesticated situation. Im sure theres a place out for him and job he can perform. Problem is, there's not enough people resources to care for all of the dogs that attack a human. Some are not going to be saved. Sad truth. My prayers to the family.

  4. chuck333, it is very simple, just hand the dog over to the santuary. No cost to city, no need for courts.

    If that option were in the law, it wouldn't have to go through the courts. There could be responsible requirements established that sanctuaries need to meet to ensure the safety of humans and animals.

    People need to understand that animals are not like warm and fuzzy toys that can be ignored, misused, and discarded or killed.

    I respect the life of all creatures, including you. That may be warm and fuzzy to you, but it is about morality and responsibility to me, as unpopular as that may be with some.

    Life should be about doing good, not just a "deed". I don't believe in turning good on and off, like we do killing.

  5. BChap, thank you for the inspiring example of Moto and the NV Boot Camp participants.

  6. This is such a sad story. Triple heartache for this family. The dog, regardless if it was as meek as a mouse, should have been away from this child, as well as everyone at this birthday party. The dog should have been put in a bedroom until the company leaves or tied up in the yard. Animals ARE so unpredictable.

    Also, children under 6 years old should never be around an animal without an adult RIGHT there to stop the kid from playing with the animal as if it were a stuffed animal. Kids don't understand you can't poke, grab, hug or anything else to an animal. The animal WILL react.

    This dog should be sent to that sanctuary. No need for it to be put to sleep. That judge is a cold-hearted one for sure. She is not doing what is best for all involved.