VIDEO - Dog ordered to be released

A Rottweiler dog that attacked an Old State Road man was ordered to be released from custody Friday. The owner, April Smith, 30, of 1066 Old State Road, could have her dog back upon full payment of the proper fees to the Huron County dog warden.
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010


A Rottweiler dog that attacked an Old State Road man was ordered to be released from custody Friday.

The owner, April Smith, 30, of 1066 Old State Road, could have her dog back upon full payment of the proper fees to the Huron County dog warden.

Her neighbors weren't pleased with Norwalk Municipal Judge John Ridge's ruling.

There is one house between Morris Van Vlerah and Smith on the south side.

"All I can say is I'm not happy with the decision (Friday)," Vlerah said.

Smith's neighbor to the north, Steve Rospert, spent about $6,000 to put up a fence after Smith's two Rottweilers killed his two goats in May 2006. Like Huron County Deputy Dog Warden Gary Ousley, Rospert hoped the dog would remain at the pound.

"I am concerned about their (the Smiths') children in the house with a vicious dog. They have three boys," Rospert said.

"All the neighbors feel unsafe with the dogs around. It's a safety issue all the way around," Rospert added.

Rospert's wife, Lori, agreed.

"We're all living in fear out here," she said before the hearing. "It's changed our lifestyle out here for the last year and a half."

Smith faces a Jan. 25 trial on two charges of failure to confine dogs. She also was charged with one count each of no dog license and failure to display a dog tag.

The defendant turned down a plea deal offered by Norwalk Law Director Stuart O'Hara on Dec. 18. The prosecutor offered Smith a 60-day suspended jail term on the condition she have the remaining dog destroyed.

Smith also needed to pay an undetermined amount of restitution and been prohibited from owning any animals or living in a home with animals. She ignored multiple requests to be interviewed after Friday's hearing.

The dog had been held at the pound since the Dec. 3 incident when it and another Rottweiler attacked Smith's neighbor. They also charged at two sheriff's deputies who attempted to use Tasers on them.

Detective Sgt. Dane Howard was ordered to kill one dog. Earlier, the pair of dogs attacked Smith's neighbor and tried to get into his patio after he went inside.

After the Bronson Township attack, the victim was treated at Fisher-Titus Medical Center for puncture wounds on his hand.

Dog Warden Melvin Eaton, about Dec. 22, said the "unpredictable" dog would "come up to the cage at you" when it was confined.

"I think he'd bite you in a minute," Eaton said at the time.

He also said his workers fed it twice a day, but didn't bother the dog otherwise.

Ridge, during Friday's hearing, asked defense attorney George Ford how his client could promise the community would be protected.

"There is a pen on the premises that the dog can't get out of," Ford said.

The judge then asked if there had been a pen during the Dec. 3 incident. Ford said there was, describing it with a lock. Ridge said that wasn't sufficient.

"My client indicates she would keep the dog in the house and not in the pen," Ford said.

Ousley said it's possible the dog could get loose. He declined to elaborate, citing the upcoming trial.

"This was the first time it actually attacked a person," he added.


Home (Anonymous)

Smiths love where they live!MAYBE YOU SHOULD MOVE!

re: home (Anonymous)

why would you want to live somewhere where you are despised by neighbors and community members?

Home (Anonymous)

Better yet go help Roberts watch their kids and all the animals that roam on a daily bases.Have A Nice Day!

get over it (An...

the ruling was made, get over it and deal with it...I wish every person and teenager that walked the streets acting unruly and horrible, defacing property and getting into fights would be picked up and carted off!!

shrink (Anonymous)

anyone know of a good shrink for this woman??

to Smith (Anonymous)

Be glad you aren't my neighbor as one who comes from the farm you'd know quickly what would happen to your dog.

Former Norwalki...

What is Judge Ridge thinking? This woman has proven she is not a responsible pet owner. She makes the rest of us look bad. If the dog warden feels the dog is unpredictable why let it live to do harm to the community? April Smith should have to pay for the fence the Rospert's had to put up to feel safe. They must feel like they are being held hostage in their own home. This is so unfair to the community. I do hope Ms. Smith takes her pet ownership seriously this time and steps up to protect her neighbors from her dangerous dog. I am afraid if I lived there I would dare this dog on my property.

Judge Ridge, I thought your job was to protect the community? I think you let your community down this time. Maybe the constituents will tell you so next time you are up for re-election.

smalltowner (An...

What were you thinking Judge Ridge?????????????????

This women has no concept of common courtesy where other people are concerned,if she did her neighbors would not be living in fear. This is one very bad ruling and I hope she keeps control of this dog this time cause if it happens again I would be holding not only her at fault but JUDGE RIDGE also. BAD CALL ALL THE WAY AROUND!!!!!!!!

What was he thi...

Geez Judge Ridge, I always thought you were pretty level headed. This woman's dogs attacked two goats, a neighbor, two deputies and you released it? It had the same chances to be penned up before and still attacked. Nothing has changed to prevent this from happening again. They still have the same pen, the same house and the same opportunity to do this again. I'll bet if the dogs lived next door to you they would have been destroyed. Too late now, the decsions been made.

judge ridge (An...

You stink! As a former juror you gave your opinion after we made the judgment. We didn't ask for it. I watched as you berated a potential juror for asking a simple question. I never held you in high esteem. My only wish is you could live next to this person. That would perfect justice.

A.T. Dog Traine...

It is good to read some sense coming to this story on the rotts. Sad there is no justice for the first one killed. To think that a breed with the jaw strength like they have is only going to leave a couple of puncture marks is totally ignorant. Those dogs had no intention of hurting anyone. Now I read the neighbors fear for their lives.Stupidity has no end!Let one of these people grabbed by a police dog, they will have to clean there shorts out. They more than likely shake at rabbits getting near there home. These people need to get a grip. Millions starving you can feed at least a couple of children with those goats.

Granddad (Anonymous)

again I say you do not know the facts. All you know is what you have read. I knew the boys and the dogs long before they moved to your town. I am there granfather. You know nothing.

to former Norwa...

No one "ran" against the judge last election. Do you know of anyone? What would be the qualifications?

Richard (Anonymous)

I think if one has a dangerous dog and it has an episode of harming a human, it should be put to sleep. Animals are for human's benefit and not harm.

Sam Smith (Anon...

April Smith does not have the sense to have a garden and obviously not enough to have a canine. I have had 5 or more dogs for more than 30 years and never has a neighbor had reason for a fence. April Smith give’s responsible dog owner’s a bad name!

Normally I agre...

but not this time. The dogs attacked, the neighbors have stated they are scared of the dogs, scared to leave their homes and the dogs have killed other animals. The dog warden stated the dog acts aggressive towards them put the stupid thing to sleep for God's sake before it mauls some kids.

A.T. Dog Traine...

Thank goodness You Folks have judge Ridge. What do you do to people who harm animals? Better yet what do you do to people who harm people? You folks are willing to kill anyone or anything that violates your way of life? If so you are about 300 years to late. We no longer have witch hunts. The persocution of animals and people is no longer accepted. We also no longer do sacrafices unless you are all from. Oh the judge should let you all go back to linching. I cannot deal with this stupidity your religion must be different in that area. Or I know you are all members of a cult.You know who really getsa hurt in situation like this? The kids.They are thinking my Dad says hate this but not this. Or we do not like those people but we like those people. or you don't no if that will hurt you so kill it.You people are raising our future but first lets ruin it for them. Gooid luck Judge I feel for you.

re: A.T. Dog Tr...

we are talking about a dog that could kill a small child that has already killed a goat you moron. Maybe you are in some kind of weird dog cult. Pull you head out of your @$$.

A.T. Dog Traine...

Hell your able to kill a child. Should we just assume that you will and take you out.I have killed goats to eat.I know that while in the military I killed at least a couple of morrons. GET OVER IT FOCUS YOUR ENERGY on something worth while. I know, I have a couple of friends who are giong to make a jackass movie!I am sure I can get you a part as a jackass.

re: home (Anonymous)

hmmmm... Smith's have lived in 4 different states in the past 5 years. interesting.....

Home (Anonymous)

Smiths are intelligent enough to ignore ignorance ex special from evil neighbor!

Fido (Anonymous)

I have heard of some stupid people, but this Smith woman is about as stupid as they come. Any pet owner who cannot comprehend that their pet has become vicious and violent towards people and other animals can only be labled as


As far as letting the other dog free: may all of you that have allowed this to happen by a technicality - Falling asleep for you may be a little difficult knowing that it is only a matter of time before there will be another victim!

Possibly from this ignorant womans family !!!!

smalltowner (An...

RE:A.T.DOG TRAINER>>>>You are an idiot! I don't know who you think you are to say that these dogs didn't intend to hurt anyone.Grow up, they have already hurt someone and have already killed other animals. What more do you need to know. This dog needs to be put done and she does not deserve any other animals if she can not train them right. I had a chihuahua that bit my grandchild and I didn't think twice, it got put down that day. END OF STORY!

fido (Anonymous)

A.T. Dog Trainer sounds like another of these people who can't deal with other people so they always side with animals against humans. They usually aren't too good with animals either.

it is also true...

In my life that people who think so highly of their animals have problems with co-workers neighbors & others.When did an animals rights come ahead of people ? You aren't a G.D. Peta freak are you?

buba (Anonymous)

Have chidren services checked on the welfare of these peoples children? There certainly has been enough info regarding this dog to warrent looking into the safety of the children in that house? I hope they have. Some how I suspect they have not. If not consider this notice that you need to! DO YOUR JOB WE PAY YOU TO DO!


dog pound 13 (A...

Its pretty sad that Ms. Smith cares more about her dog than the safety of her own children. She's not fit to have any animals, let alone children, in her house! This is what concerns me the most. The question is not WILL the dog attack again but WHEN , and hopefully its not one of the children that has to pay the price. It makes me sick that there are such ignorant people out there raising kids.

I Love Dogs (An...

I am the owner of two large breed dogs, and I am also a biologist having studied animal behavior. Smith obviously had/has NO business owning a large breed dog. I do not blame the dog(s) for what has happened - I blame the owners! The blood, quite literally, is on their hands! I also blame the court for allowing this dog to be put back into the hands of a woman who clearly has no idea how to care for such a pet. Keeping a large rottweiler in house constantly, are you kidding me? What about exercise? Let me tell you what a dog with all that pent up energy and obviously no obedience training is going to do - it is going to attack, AGAIN! This woman not only shouldn't be able to have this dog back, she should be prohibited from owning ANY animal.

A.T. Dog TRAINE...

ALRIGHT folks, I traveled to your big hamlet of Norwalk and meet several people. They seemed very nice. I stopped got some gas started some small talk with a few of the patrons, they treated me very polite.Meet the so called killer dog,

ohhhhh scary. Then I went to meet the family in question. Great boys a little confused trying to figure out how there dogs got to be such dangerous animals.Since coming to Norwalk.They told me both were purchased at puppy age. My summation is that there is a mental healthcare unit that lets patients use the computer. Or you are all neighbors. I am right!~ Or human inline breeding

Hey A.T. (Anonymous)

Did ya get to meet the crazy lady?