Judge orders stay of execution for 2 dogs in pig-killing case - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Judge orders stay of execution for 2 dogs in pig-killing case

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There are new developments in the case of two dogs on death row in Monroe County, convicted of killing two show pigs.

A judge ruled Tuesday that Nala and Bugger can stay alive as an appeal moves forward to save the lives of the dogs.

The judge granted a stay of execution, extending the restraining order stopping the dogs from being euthanized until there is a final decision in the appeal.

Last May, the huskies got out of their home and were found inside a barn just over the state line in Michigan. Two pigs were dead in the barn, and the owner of the pigs says she witnessed the dogs attacking them.

A Bedford Township hearing officer investigated, as required by a Michigan law from 1919 protecting livestock and poultry from attacks, and the dogs were found guilty.

They've now been locked up for ten months. The owners are appealing the dogs' death sentence. After granting the stay, the judge urged the owners of the dogs and the pigs to reach a settlement out of court.

"People are spending a lot of money and a lot of time and it's just a shame that you can't come to some kind of a resolution here that is acceptable to everyone," says Judge Michael LaBeau.

"We would love to try to talk it out instead of the appeal because we could be doing that for six months," says Katalin Juhasz, one of the owners of Nala and Bugger.

Juhasz and her mother own the dogs. They say they're willing to pay around $9,000 to the Sonnenberg family, who owned the pigs.  Juhasz says Stephanie Sonnenberg wanted tens of thousands.

"Last we knew it was $45,000 and that was totally ridiculous," says Juhasz. "We don't have that kind of money. We're not wealthy."

The owner of the pigs has never commented to 13abc, but for the first time her attorney has.

Henry Lievens says the Sonnenbergs spent out-of-pocket almost $10,000 on the pigs they showed in 4-H programs.

Lievens says, "If someone stole your $10,000 car and you lost a $35,000 job, what are you really out?" 

He goes on to say, "The family feels awful about this.  We're receptive to an offer, but we haven't received one yet.  In the past, the dog owners have used a negotiating attempt to embarrass and humiliate the Sonnenberg family."

"We've never said anything publicly to try to humiliate her," says Juhasz.

The judge and the attorney representing Bedford Township have offered to help both sides come together.

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