Where’s the line between a vicious animal and a dog defending itself? That’s the question being considered in Montrose, Colorado as Army veteran Jeremy Aguilar’s dog Dutch attacked his former owner. According to Dog Heirs, the former owner “started punching him in the face and kept punching him until [her] hands hurt so bad [she] couldn't hit him anymore," at which point she used a metal pole that became bent and bloodied. It was at this point that Dutch bit both her thigh and buttocks to the bone, and fractured her finger while severing an artery.
According to the Montrose civic alerts page, the former owner hit Dutch to break up a fight with her own dog. After successfully removing Dutch, she attempted to clean the blood from his face at which point he bit her thigh, and after falling in an escape attempt to her room, received the second and third bite. The former owner’s fiancé walked in with the other dog and Dutch attacked again, and was subdued by a piece of a broken picture frame.
Helping Dutch’s case are a number of individuals speaking out against his status as a vicious dog. The veterinarian who tended to his wounds made a special note that the “dog 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.”
Carrie Williams, a renowned dog trainer and evaluator, said, “I truly believe this dog would not bite anyone unless he was provoked and felt like he was defending his life. Dutch was a joy to work with and a wonderful service dog with a great temperament.” Carrie tested Dutch for aggression by standing over him and making direct eye contact, but he shied away. She even tried to pull food out of his mouth, and he simply let it fall. Dutch is officially qualified to enter homes for the elderly, and is an AKC Canine Good Citizen.
The judge presiding over the case determined that because the bite took place inside the home after the beating, Dutch was displaying vicious behavior and was not acting in self defense. There is an active euthanasia order for Dutch, and Jeremy must surrender the dog or risk one year in jail. Jeremy asked the judge to allow Dutch to enter a rehabilitation program, but the former owner would not agree to the bargain.
Jeremy has made an open bid for public support, asking for donations to assist with the legalfees and for people to sign an online petition. A Facebook page was also built to raise awareness of Dutch’s situation, which has received over twenty-one thousand likes.