100-lb. Dog to Remain Sheltered, Judge Rules
Kolbs say they will appeal, with potential to not see pet pending verdict.
Judge William Bowkley ruled a stay pending appeal on Thursday evening in the case of the Kolbs and the couple's one remaining dog.
"What you have here is a balancing of societal interest," Bowkley said. "We have a societal interest in recognizing the right of people to have animals as pets on the one hand has contrasted with, on the other hand, people to feel safe and secure on the streets. As a result of that, these regulations have been adopted in statutory form."
Gary and Susan Kolb were originally indicted on contempt of court charges after police found them walking their African Boerbel pet dogs unmuzzled, per court order, on Oct. 18, 2011. A state Superior Court Judge dismissed the charge against Gary Kolbrecently.
The stay is good for 20 calendar days, according to the Kolbs' attorney, Robert Dunn, but if the family files an appeal it will be until a new verdict is reached. If the 100-pound dog is forfeited via a new verdict, the Kolbs would have no right to visit her.
Bowkley said the ultimate goal of the stay is that the remaining dog not be euthanized unnecessarily, but only in the event a suitable living place can not be found for the dog.
"[We have to find a place] where they will be accepted, because it's clear to me that it's nobody's desire to have this kind of animal euthanized. With that background, I have to consider the evidence. The evidence in this case is really quite clear," Bowkley said.
"Of course," Susan Kolb said when asked if she and her husband would appeal the verdict. She also added that she and her husband are not disappointed.
The Kolbs had been battling since 2008 in various state courts to keep the two 100-pound dogs, Jumba, a male, and Imani, a female, after the dogs allegedly knocked over a woman and her grandchild in 2008 and allegedly bit two people in 2009 while the couple lived in Jersey City. They were charged with contempt in Jersey City for walking the unmuzzled dogs.
The Kolbs moved to Jefferson in October 2011 after the Jersey City incidents. The Kolbs were ordered to keep the dogs muzzled and on a short leash while they were being walked in public. The dogs were taken away following the Jefferson incident, and Jumba died in January while living in a shelter.