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JUST IN - Dog owner arrested on probation violation

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:12 PM

April Smith, who was convicted by a jury of failing to confine dogs, was arrested Wednesday morning on a probation violation warrant.

Huron County Sheriff's Major Greg Englund saw a rottweiler dog in the dining room when he came to Smith's 1066 Old State Road home about 10:30 a.m. He was there with Sgt. Mike Martz and Huron County Dog Warden Bill Duncan.

"The other (dog) was at the door, but it wasn't causing a problem. She was more concerned about the rott," Englund said.

"She said, 'I need to put them away.' She put them in the garage. Her husband got home and we took her into custody."

On Dec. 3, Englund ordered Detective Sgt. Dane Howard to shoot one of Smith's dogs after they charged at them and acted aggressively. Previous attempts to use their Tasers were ineffective. A deputy dog warden put down the wounded dog shortly after the incident.

Authorities responded after one of Smith's neighbors was attacked by the two rottweilers.

On Jan. 26, Norwalk Municipal Court Judge John Ridge ordered Smith to show proof that the remaining dog believed to be the same one at Smith's home Wednesday had been euthanized by Jan. 29. The Sixth District Court of Appeals in Toledo later granted a stay on the order.

On Feb. 26, Ridge told Smith she wasn't allowed to "own or possess any dog or reside in a residence when a dog is present for five years," according to court records. That order came from a failure to register conviction.

"That stay (on an appeal) was denied, so we believe she is in violation of her court order," Norwalk Assistant Law Director T. Douglas Clifford said. "Euthanizing a dog is different than living with a dog."

Smith's Jan. 26 sentence on two counts of failure to confine dogs included five years of probation and a $200 fine.

Duncan, the dog warden, said his office isn't and hasn't been investigating the woman's probation, but his office received a tip from "multiple neighbors" about dogs at Smith's home.

"We received some information over the weekend ... that she wasn't going along with her probation," Duncan said.

His office then forwarded a report to Smith's probation officer and the law director's office.

Clifford declined to comment on the nature of the tip.

"I will not comment on the quality or the nature of the evidence," the prosecutor said.

Englund explained the nature of the probation violation to Smith on Wednesday.

"She didn't understand the charges," the deputy said. "She said she would talk to her attorney."

Smith currently is in custody at the Huron County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond. If convicted of the probation violation, she faces 30 days in jail, which had been suspended when she was sentenced Jan. 26.

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