Dog Owners' Fate May Come in Court Thursday
Jefferson residents Susan and Gary Kolb continue trial over impounded dog, Imani.
After 16 months, the Kolb family might have resolution in their quest to be reunited with their impounded dog Imani this Thursday. The family is set to appear in court on March 14 and the final fate of their pet is expected to be decided.
The Kolb's saga began back in 2008 when dogs Imani and Jumba were accused of knocking over a woman and her grandchild and another complaint was made about the dogs having bitten two people in 2009. The end result was a court order for the Kolbs to muzzle their pets and keep them on a short leash while walking their dogs in public.
In Oct. 2011, the Kolbs were walking their dogs down a residential Jefferson road around 5:45 a.m. when, according Gary Kolb, Jumba's muzzle became dislodged.
Kolb said he began walking with the dog toward a lighted street post on Chamberlain Road to properly place the muzzle back on Jumba when they were stopped by Police Officer Bryan Christie. Kolb said the muzzle was still in his hand as the officer pulled up and wrote them up.
On Oct. 26, 2011 animal control came to the Kolb residence to take away the two dogs.
“We were shocked and saddened yet proud that the dogs, even faced with policeman armed with automatic rifles, behaved quietly and with perfect behavior,” Susan Kolb said.
Since that day, the two dogs have been transferred between the two pounds in Jefferson and Hopatcong. Each day, regardless of weather or holiday, Susan Kolb and her husband Gary along with son Arthur have made an effort to visit and train their "two gentle giants." Gary Kolb said he had done extensive research in deciding which breed to take into the home with their autistic son. The Kolbs decided on the South African Boerboels, as they are naturally raised to protect children on farms in South Africa.
“We feel we can never heal from the pain of losing Jumba. He was a true friend. We love him very very much." Susan Kolb said.
Since their dogs were taken, the Kolbs started an online petition, Send Jumba and Imani Home which includes not only photos of the couple visiting the dogs, but also videos of Gary Kolb training the dogs.
For his part, prosecutor James LaSala does not see the Kolbs bringing Imani home. In fact he said he anticipates finishing the trial, “by forwarding the request to forfeit the dog and authorize to euthanize/put down Imani.”
LaSala said he is still willing to consider having the dog placed permanently away from the Kolbs in an appropriate facility where they can either house the dog or have the credentials to retrain Imani.
“This dog, I don't trust," LaSala said. "I do not want this dog to be placed with another family.”
The Kolbs have taken their appeal to the internet hoping that the residents of Jefferson Township will look at their website and videos that they claim LaSala doesn't want anyone to see.
“Our message is we are excellent owners. We've spent all of our time training the dogs and we really hope the town will put this misunderstanding behind them and send our dog Imani home.” Susan Kolb said. “We hope the town will look at us for who we are and look at the case for what it is, and the truth will come out.”