Dog trial goes to jury

Huron County Deputy Dog Warden Gary Ousley recalled defendant April Smith saying she didn't think one of her rottweilers would attack anybody. Ousley came to Smith's home at 1066 Old State Road on Dec. 3 after the two dogs attacked her neighbor and later charged at two sheriff's deputies. He said he had to "put down" the female dog after Detective Sgt. Dane Howard shot it twice with his service revolver.
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010


Huron County Deputy Dog Warden Gary Ousley recalled defendant April Smith saying she didn't think one of her rottweilers would attack anybody.

Ousley came to Smith's home at 1066 Old State Road on Dec. 3 after the two dogs attacked her neighbor and later charged at two sheriff's deputies. He said he had to "put down" the female dog after Detective Sgt. Dane Howard shot it twice with his service revolver.

"I believe at that time it was near death," Ousley said. "She (Smith) said it was 'my baby.' ... She said that was like one of her children."

He snared the male dog which he found healthy and uninjured under a van in front of the victim's home. That dog was released from the dog pound Jan. 11 to Smith.

Her trial on two charges of failure to confine dogs and one count each of no dog license and failure to display a dog tag was Friday in Norwalk Municipal Court. Closing arguments were this morning, followed by the jury deliberations.

Before being attacked, Morris Van Vlerah Jr. was "piddling around" in his pole barn, about 200 feet from his house. Smith lives two houses away.

Van Vlerah was about to step onto the deck of his house, when "out of nowhere, an animal bit me on the left arm and started shaking," he said. At the same time, the other dog bit him on the right ankle.

The man testified he hit one dog in the snout and he ran the next 8 to 10 feet from the edge of his porch to get inside.

"I tried to close the patio door, but it was tough," Van Vlerah said, because the dogs were jumping at the door and his hand was bleeding. The latch broke in the process.

He called his wife Crystal, who was coming home with their son, to tell her not to come home for her own safety. Van Vlerah said he had to call back, "but she was already in the driveway."

Crystal said she and her son entered the home through the front door instead of the back porch because of the dogs.

"As soon as she closed the screen door, the dogs were jumping, trying to get in," her husband said.

Howard, the first responding deputy, said the dogs headed toward him as soon as he got out of his vehicle.

"I felt threatened and got back in my car," he added.

When Major Greg Englund arrived moments later, he saw the dogs running along the front and side of Howard's vehicle. When Englund got out of his cruiser, he said the two dogs turned and charged at him, forcing him back into his car.

The dogs eventually went back to the porch. The two deputies fired their Tasers twice each at the dogs. One dog rolled, pulling out the cable when the animals became intertwined, Englund said, and the male dog fled to the front of the home.

"(Being Tasered) appeared to make them more aggressive," he said. "They were aggressive in the first place."

When Englund had his Taser in his hand, he ordered Howard to shoot the female dog.

"He was yelling at me, 'Shoot the dog!,'" Howard said. "The dog cleared the (nearby) propane tank and the dog was shot. ... After I fired my weapon, the dog dropped.

"I hit the dog because it was attacking Major Englund," the detective said.

Englund described Van Vlerah as being "in a lot of pain" and said it was apparent "the force of the dogs" forced the patio door off its track. The Bronson Township man later went to Fisher-Titus Medical Center for treatment of puncture wounds on his hand.

Defense attorney George Ford asked Van Vlerah why the dogs would attack him.

"The only reason I can think of is it's the nature of this particular dog," the victim said.


I think (Anonymous)

Its going to be not guilty or a hung jury and law enforcment will be charged with animal abuse. Howard will drop out of the Sheriffs race and law enforcment all together. The owner will go after money for the death of there family pet. Too many mistakes made on law enforcment and the proscutions part!!

to I think (Ano...

I think if these dogs did this to me I'd shoot them. Wait yes I'd kill them because if anything or body tries to attack me in my sanctuary (house) I'd try my best to destroy them.

I think (Anonymous)

I wasn't defending the dog or dog owner I was pointing out that I didn't think there would be a conviction do to mistakes made by law enforcment and proscution. Rest assured I wouldn't have wate for law enforcment to shoot a dog that comes at me like this dog did.

i think your an...

you defend an out of controll animal and an owner that has no conroll over his property?you are simply an idiot.

guilty (Anonymous)

she was found guilty on all 3 charges

Negtive (Anonymous)

Hung Jury! New trial at the cost of the tax payer's.

wrong (Anonymous)

she was found guilty moron

reply to i thin...

Do you think that this county could be that lucky to get rid of chubby Dane Howard and the prosecitor? that would be awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not true.. MORO...

They produced the check for the dog tags, and the ticket wasn't given to the owner of the dogs. It's a redo!! Proscution was really messed up!!

animal lover (A...

i hope she's found guilty

the dog should be put down

i know the man and what would've happend had his 2 kids teenage kids been with him.

Guilty, Guilty ...

she was found guilty on two of the three charges and the dog has to be put down within 5 days...the other charge is being decided in February.

wrong (Anonymous)

she was found guilty on all 3 charges by all 8 jurors. sentancing to take place in feb on 3rd charge

Commander Satan...

does anyone know when this house will be on the market. Money is not the issue. we are looking for a place that can be used as a halfway house when we travel from the east coast to South Dakota. Just a place to park our rides about 7 thousand of them.

maybe release a little road fury. Please let us know. P.S. How are the neighbor's. Hope they can pack quick.

re (Anonymous)

pathetic town and pathetic many more have to be hurt. Sounds like everyone is getting a cheap thrill out of this.

commander (Anon...

hey crackhead go to 250 south of fitchville a campgrounds . you be welcome there. HA

a dog lover (An...

THey might have produced the check but the date was the day after the attack so she was still the owner of record. I really hope she is found guilty because she is.

why (Anonymous)

If all the trouble with the dogs over the past years is true--why after the goats, why was nothing done by the authorities--and why would the judge give the dog back--it should have been destroyed. People that do not keep their dogs in their own yard should be fined and given jail time if their pets injure another animal or a person. This woman is guilty and the authorities are guilty for doing nothing earlier---does this woman or man know someone who protected them.

Satan's Descip...

AAs to the reference of the crackpipe we are only interested in one crack. You"ll do. I will make you my personal lover.

to why (Anonymous)

good ???. just like why is defendant driving around with suspended license for dui?

dog whisperer (...

she should be put down, not the poor dog. it was only acting out it's instincts and she wasn't there to correct the situation. she should be put down. poor dog...

Satan's (Anonymous)

Good they have kids. We can play balls.

To commander Sa...

I'm sure she's more then willing to sell her house call her.

a dog (Anonymous)

I am a dog, and I know it's the owners fault. I know if they don't present themselves as the pack leader, then I must become the pack leader and all I have is to rely on are my instincts. I live in the moment. I'm not at all worried what happened yesterday and I certainly don't worry about tomorrow. I live in this moment, and it's up to my owners to be MY pack leader. I really don't like having to lead them, but they don't understand how my mind works. It's not my fault or any of my fellow dog friends fault. The fault strictly lies in the hands of my owner.

Q.E.D. (Anonymous)

Fido needs a Johnnie Cochran-like attorney.

swiss family......

this is whats wrong with our judicial system.. when someone is sentenced, there are so many appeals available, that this dog will probably going to die from natural causes, before this is all said and done..

i wish that when a sentence is handed down on a case.. it is carried out.

to swiss (Anonymous)

ever hear of a little thing called 'laws'?? uratard

gas guzzler (An...

keep an eye on the price of gas in Norwalk once again, outside of town, the price of gas was $2.88 per gallon, but in Norwalk , ther were charging $3.04.. bring it down to where it should be Norwalk dealers!!