Dog to be destroyed

Defendant April Smith must submit proof to Norwalk Municipal Court that her male Rottweiler dog has been euthanized by Tuesday. Judge John Ridge also sentenced Smith, 30, of 1066 Old State Road, to five years of probation for two counts of failure to confine dogs. She also was fined $200 and had a 30-day jail sentence suspended for the Dec. 3 incident when her two dogs attacked her neighbor and later charged at two sheriff's deputies.
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010


Defendant April Smith must submit proof to Norwalk Municipal Court that her male Rottweiler dog has been euthanized by Tuesday.

Judge John Ridge also sentenced Smith, 30, of 1066 Old State Road, to five years of probation for two counts of failure to confine dogs. She also was fined $200 and had a 30-day jail sentence suspended for the Dec. 3 incident when her two dogs attacked her neighbor and later charged at two sheriff's deputies.

A jury deliberated Saturday between 45 minutes and an hour before also finding Smith guilty of failure to register an English bulldog her family obtained in August. She will be sentenced on that charge after a presentence investigation.

"They did register (the bulldog) in 2008, but didn't register it in 2007," Norwalk Assistant Law Director T. Douglas Clifford said.

"Obviously, I think the jury's decision was correct," he continued. "To the best of my recollection, she was crying."

Clifford said the state's position was Smith was the "owner, harborer and keeper" of the two Rottweiler dogs that attacked Morris Van Vlerah Jr. near his back deck. Clifford noted he only had to prove Smith met one of the three aforementioned conditions. Defense attorney George Ford was unavailable for comment this morning.

Van Vlerah later went to Fisher-Titus Medical Center for treatment of puncture wounds on his hand after the attack.

When two deputies responded to the victim's home within moments of each other, the two Rottweilers charged the officers and forced them back into their respective vehicles. The deputies used Tasers on both dogs multiple times and one of the officers was ordered to shoot the one dog that didn't flee from the patio.

Huron County Deputy Dog Warden Gary Ousley, who also responded, said he had to "put down" the female dog that was shot twice because "it was near death." Ousley placed the male dog into custody; it was released Jan. 11 to Smith from the dog pound.

Smith's husband testified Friday his family got their first dog nine to 13 years ago. He clearly said he owned the male dog, not his wife, and it's the responsibility of their 14-year-old son to care for both Rottweilers, which "stay in the kennel."

"She didn't want me to get the dog," Asa Smith said.

Attorneys asked April Smith if she objected to her husband getting the dogs.

"They're my husband's dogs. I have no choice," she said. "If the dogs needed to go the vet, I'd take them."

Smith also testified she loved one of the dogs like a child, but said she didn't feed or water them and had no ownership rights. She and her husband also said they didn't know who released the dogs from their kennel that night, but it was secure after their son took care of the dogs before the family left for a wrestling match.


Dog Lover (Anon...

I feel bad that Mo got bit but I don't think it is fair that the dog be put down. Take the dog away from her and give it to a good home that will get the dog obedience trained. I know that Judge Ridge doesn't like dogs. I have seen it personally. When it comes to a dog he takes a persons side no matter what. Like I said, there are no bad dogs only bad owners. Put the owner down not the dog.Give that god to a Rott rescue at least.

Dog Lover (Anon...

correction: that would be dog, not god.

Satan's Discipl...

here we come norwalk a perfect little town for a whole bunch of fun. better give barney more than one bullet

another dog lov...

I agree, she is the one responsible....not the poor dog. dogs can be rehabilitated, people need to be trained. I'll be praying for that dog, I hope he rests in peace, and bites judge Ridge next time he sees him.

question: (Anon...

so, is she allowed to keep the other dog she has? for the safety of all dogs i think that she should be prohibited from owning any more - they keep getting killed because she's an idiot...

Too bad the dog...

it is probably for the better at least this way it will go peacefully instead of being shot like the other one since she is too stupid to keep them in her yard or give it to someone who could train the dog right and rehabilitate it.

taxer (Anonymous)

Take them both to freedom valley campground.

confused (Anonymous)

after reading this lastest story I can not help but ask this question. It was clearly stated these dogs were the husbands.

after reading the article in todays paper. It was clearly stated that these dogs were her husbands. but of course he did not care for them, he left that up to his wife and their 14 year old son.

and as she stated she did not have a choice, but to try and take care of them. now why is she taking the rapp for this guy, if they were his dogs, and i might add how did they get so unrully,they were not born that way, maybe the husband had something to do with that? the only stupid thing this woman did is let the jackass bring the dogs in in the first place and then take the blame for him. what kind of guy is this. what a loser he must be I hope he has not had much to do with raising the boy.

lol (Anonymous)

best comment ive seen is take them to freedom valley campground!! wtg

GUM (Anonymous)

"Stupid is as stupid does."

Dogs not all ar...

Good thing this was not a child these dogs attacked or this family maybe attending a funeral.

re:Dogs not all...

you're right...if the owner owned up to their end of the responsibility then this never ever would have happened. plain and simple it's the OWNERS fault.

I'm Guessing......

The dog gets a stay of execution form a higher court. Any takers?

ENRAGED! (Anonymous)

I have, hands on, worked with both of these dogs at a kennel and never in that time did I witness these dogs with any aggressive behavior (especially kennel aggression). Being a victim of a Rottweiler attack, one would assume that I would have strict reservations upon such breed, however, this was not the case with these two dogs. I feel that the decission for 5 years probation was extremely harsh considering we have far worse problems within the city of Norwalk to deal with, yet those issues are easily dismissed.

the quite town...

we are going to have so much together. Have you ever seen what a couple thousand bikers can do to a one horse town. We have secured a down paymment on the State RD house this is gonna be fun I am personally brining my hog roaster. yours truly, Commander SATINS DISCIPLE [EAST COAST CHAPTER]

re (Anonymous)

this all sounds like cruel and unusual punishment. Sounds like the town of Norwalk is just out to get revenge. Do these neighbors have any heart or compassion? I have 2 rottweilers that have accidnetally gotten out of our yard and I have 2 wonderful 80 year old neighbors that were kind enough to be good neighbors and help me get my dogs back in my yard. Dogs just don't attack. Who provoked the situation? Why did no one try and contact the family and let them know there dogs were out of their yard. Sounds like a racket.

re (Anonymous)

I think I would rather have the Smith family as my neighbor than this Satin Disciple who wants to live in the Smith home now. Maybe if he did these stupid neighbors would know what it means to have a family that doesn't want to be bothered living amongst them. Be careful what you wish for because the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

cool (Anonymous)

it sure is cool watching the mentality of the so called satin biker on here. hey cmon is that you gramps? ha

duh! (Anonymous)

Norwalk has nothing to do with any of this . This occured in Bronson twp. Seems like all the pro keep the" attack dog" people on here are in fact Morons! Who in thier right mind would even consider having such an animal around? creepy

responding to (...

How is owning 2 Rottweilers creepy? If you're afraid of a dog it will sense it. Wouldn't you get mad if you were tazered or had a gun pointing down staring into your eyes by someone you didn't know? I'd be scared and upset as well just like both of the dogs were. The first time I pointed a squirt gun at my dog it's fur stood up. I was someone who dealt with these dogs before and though I was not a familiar face to them, however, I was not a threat to them and therefore was not in any way harmed. It all depends on how people handle the dogs and obviously the cops moved on a bad decision. They wanted to use their guns and they did. Ask the owners what the cops then did with the dog's body....that's the "creepy" part. I don't think any of us would ever act so sadistically in our lives. So for all you people living afraid of dogs because you know no better, get a life. Learn to handle dog's with respect.

to responding ...

ha, your one of the morons i was talking about

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.

Dog owner (Anon...

Dogs are like children, their behavior is based on how it is raised. A child raised to be spoiled, self-centered and bratty will be just that. A dog raised in a kennel with little to no human interaction will be more likely to be vicious. Show the child/animal love and affection while still instilling discipline and it will respond accordingly. The bullshit about certain breeds of dogs being "vicious by nature" is simply ignorance. If people would take even an hour to research the breeds they'd find out that the "facts" are nothing more than old-wives tales passed down from previous idiots. Previous idiots are also responsible for "the earth is flat", "black people are sub-human and therefore it's okay to enslave them" and other such stupidity. All animals, including humans, are capable of being vicious and a frightened or injured animal is much more likely to strike. As humans, we have affirmative defenses we can hide behind (Crime of Passion, Involuntary Manslaughter, etc.) but animals don't get the same luxury and they're rarely jailed and then released back into the population, unlike humans. Very few humans receive a death sentence, even for murder, while dogs get a mandatory death sentence just for being born a certain breed. Kind of like Jews were given a death sentence by Hitler for being born of a certain religion or race. Makes me wonder how civilized we really are.

swiss family......

to "Dog owner"

man you are so close to making alot of sense. some of the points that you make are right on the mark , but it seems that you are only giving half of the story.

you say that an animal raised in a kennel with little or no human contact will be more likelt to be vicious. that is half true, or that same animal will go completly the other way.. they might be so socially inept that they will become so shy and inverted creatures, that they won't let a human anywhere near them.

then the statement that you make that basically there is no claim to the fact that certain breed are viciouc by nature. well i feel that you are wrong on this. most breeds of animals have certain inbred qualities, that identify who and what they will become. how many times have you seen a labrador, yip and yap like a chiouaoua? i doubt you ever have.. but people expect that from small lap dogs.cocker spaniels are very hard dogs to train because of their sense of independence..etc there are exceptions to the rules, but for the most part, a dogs temperment is predetermined.

you are also leaving out the actual animals physical features.. if you have an out of control and vicous weiner dog, it wont be nearly the threat that a pit bull, or a rott is, with their iron and powerfully big jaws and teeth.

then you go off on some tangent about the flat earth and blacks.. and other such nonsense.. you lost me there.. not because of lack of interest on my part, but lack of ( correct) facts on yours.

so like i said, some of your points were well taken, but i think you are only using half of the facts, the half that makes your points seem valid

Dog Owner (Anon...

You're right, I went off on a tangent. It happens when you're interrupted by a telephone call and lose your train of thought. The point I was trying to make is that stupidity and ignorance breed more of the same.

a dog (Anonymous)

I wish all my dog friends had a pack leader like 'Dog Owner'. We could just be dogs. Living happy lives. I wouldn't wish my best enemy to live with swiss family. They OBVIOUSLY don't know anything about me or how my mind works. It works like a dog's mind, not a human mind. I am considered by many to be their son/daughter, but first and foremost, I am a dog. Please treat me as such. Like 'Dog Owner' mentioned, do some research on any of our breeds. We are all born to be lead, and if someone doesn't take that lead, then by golly, I feel as if it's my duty to lead. That's not a good idea, based on my instincts, I will react the way any 'dog' would. A lot of my reactions are based on how you're feeling at that time, too. If you are scared and nervous, then I will react scared and nervous. If you act calm and assertive, then I will know you have the situation under control, and I need not interfere. Am I making any sense to anyone out there? I know I'm rambling, but I just got my nails clipped, and it's easy for me to type now.

All I ask is you people do me a favor next time you want to adopt me or one of my some research on my breed-take hold of my reins and be my pack leader-teach me a daily routine of exercise, discipline and then at night, I will smother you with kisses, because I crave all the affection and attention you want to give me.

Thank you.

A Dog

Dog Lover (Anon...

This dog did not just run up and bite someone just to bite him. Something had to provoke the bite. It was either corralled up by some one that he didn't know or swing something at him such as a bot, stick or something like that even a kick. Even a threatening voice could cause the dog to bite but not normally. There is no way this dog just ran up and bit him. I think it sucks this poor dog is sentenced to death because of a lie and at the hands of a judge who hates dogs.

re: dog lover (...

this dog was sentenced to death because its owner doesn't know how to train it or care for it properly! it's not the dogs fault that it is locked up all the time with no outlet for his energy, but that certainly doesn't excuse what has's a shame that a dog has to pay such a price for an ignorant owner.

provoked!??? (A...

I am sorry but this man is a family member of mine and in no way did hew provoke any dog to attack him. He loves dogs! Most of the people in our family have dogs.. Anyone who knows those types of dogs know that they are hard to control at times.. Its not like this is the first time a ross has attacked someone!

People (Anonymous)

Keep in mind those dogs were around a three and six year old one dog was old with bad hip's and the other was two years old and both was secured not only in a six foot fence, but the youngest with a cable leash that was cut these dogs were not vicious it's the neighbors. To the Smith family and kids we support you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!