Last week we told you about Jeremiah Aguilar and his mastiff, Dutch. The Montrose dog's story got national attention after it was published online.
Dutch bit a woman, and a Montrose judge ordered he be put down. On Thursday, Aguilar takes Dutch to court, hoping the judge will reconsider as the dog is a vital companion to the vet coping with PTSD.
Aguilar is a disabled veteran who says Dutch is a gentle giant who would never hurt anyone unless he was attacked, but the city of Montrose and animal services say the bites the victim suffered show he's too aggressive and his behavior can't be overlooked simply because his story has gone viral.
"Dogs can't speak they don't have a voice, all they have is a mouth, and when you do something to them that they don't like, what do you think they are going to do, they are just going to react, they are in harm, and they are in pain, what do you want them to do?" questioned Aguilar.
In November, authorities say Dutch got in a fight with another dog and the victim tried to break it up. According to Montrose County Animal Services, the woman hit Dutch to make that happen. Later, when she approached the animal to clean blood off of him, he bit her repeatedly. Some bites went to the bone.
"The city of Montrose is interested in public safety, so these decisions are made not in the interest to do away with an animal, but rather to protect the public," city spokesperson David Spear said.
Aguilar and the online dog community say Dutch was provoked, and that the fight and biting incident shouldn't be considered independently of each other.
"Our city ordinance that if a bite is provoked, it is not considered a dangerous animal," Montrose County animal services spokesperson Mike Duncan said.
A judge felt the attack wasn't provoked, and ruled Dutch a dangerous animal, ordering that he be put down. Aguilar was also charged with owning a vicious animal and faces court troubles of his own, ones he will likely have to face without Dutch.
"He helps me out with certain comfort and anxiety, and when I’m feeling down and depressed, he is there for me,” Aguilar said.
Montrose officials say they've taken the outpouring of support for Dutch into consideration, but ask also that people remember the victim and severity of injuries she received.
Aguilar and Dutch are back in court Thursday morning where Aguilar will likely have to relinquish Dutch at that point to have him put down.
Also during that hearing, Aguilar will find out whether or not he'll be fined up to $1,000 and could serve up to a year in jail.
KKCO 11 News will keep you updated on this story.
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