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Keep Dogs Out of Neighborhood, Residents Say

Two 100-pound dogs deemed 'potentially dangerous' not suited for family-oriented community, according to some Oak Ridge residents.

While an Oak Ridge couple continues to fight to have their two African Boerboels returned, some of their neighbors hope the dogs remain out of the family-oriented community.

Steve Post, who lives a few houses down from Susan and Gary Kolb, has two young sons, ages 2 and 4. He believes having the dogs back in the area would be dangerous since he said children are always playing outside in the afternoon.

"They shouldn't be back in any neighborhood," Post said. "They've already bitten, they've already attacked."

Two other Summer Walk Circle residents agreed, but declined to provide their names for this article. One mother said she would be afraid for her children's safety.

"Does any dog that's being convicted under the state law as a vicious dog belong in any neighborhood? No, especially not in a neighborhood that has kids running around," Post said.

Despite the concerns raised by her neighbors, Susan Kolb has for her 19-year-old autistic son, Arthur.

"They are really, really mellow dogs," Susan Kolb said Monday. "They're charming, they're personable. They're not a fighting breed, they're a gentle breed."

Kolb said the dogs have helped Arthur since he was 14 years old, and he misses them because they have become a big part of his life.

"Arthur is a kid who doesn't have any wishes, but he prays to God every night that the dogs will come home," she said.

Susan Kolb said her son turned to the dogs as friends and companions, and has never considered them just pets.

"It’s a proven fact how much animals can help autistic people,” she said last week. "Arthur isn’t really capable of holding long conversations, but he can have a friendship with an animal. He isn’t able to have that with his peers."

When first researching dogs to purchase, Susan Kolb said she looked for ones who were the most mellow and best companions. She said that's what enticed her to purchase the African Boerboels.

"The dogs are really family dogs," she said. "And when they're here, all they do is follow the family from room to room, they just want to be with you."

Susan and Gary Kolb visit the dogs to feed and play with them at their current location at Woofs N Whiskers in Andover each day from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Susan Kolb says that although Arthur is unable to go during the week while he's in school, he goes every weekend.

The dogs were taken from the Kolbs last October when one was found not wearing the state-mandated muzzle while on a walk near their Oak Ridge home.

However, the couple claims they are "innocent of all charges and that this is a misunderstanding." The Kolbs released a statement Monday afternoon to local media organizations claiming the dogs, Jumba and Imani, were wearing muzzles when they left their home that morning last October at about 5:30 a.m. The couple also claims they have the pictures to prove it.

The Kolbs moved to Oak Ridge last year after the two 100-pound dogs allegedly knocked over a woman and her grandchild in 2008 and allegedly bit two people in 2009. All three alleged incidents occurred in Jersey City, where the Kolbs previously lived.

They had signed an agreement to sell the dogs to a buyer in Los Angeles but then refused to give up the animals and were held in contempt of court in 2010, according to the Daily Record.

The couple then moved to Jefferson, but were required by the state to have specific fencing, an enclosure and signage be erected at the home, and the dogs could only be out in public if muzzled and secured on 3-foot leashes.

Now the Kolbs have until Oct. 25 to decide if they would forfeit the dogs to the township or risk the animals being put down.

The couple released a statement Friday saying they would move again if it meant getting their dogs back and saving them from possibly being euthanized.

Jefferson Township also claims the couple owes about $10,000 for housing the dogs since last year. Jumba and Imani spent part of the last year at the Jefferson Pound before being moved to Andover.

Susan Kolb has disagreed with the amount owed because they provide food for the dogs, but Jefferson Mayor Russell Felter has said the charge is for the facility's daily boarding fee.

Felter did not respond to a message Monday seeking further comment.

The Kolbs have created savenjdogs.com, a website that explains their story with updates. They have raised more than $4,000 since May 23 toward their goal of $20,000 for the "Jumba and Imani Defense Fund."

mayfairwitch1 October 16, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Yes they are "family dogs" they were used in Africa to protect the homestead and the people from attacks by predators...lions!! Problem is if they think their "family" is threatened they become protective to the death. The current owners are taking this too lightly and I don't know what it would take to wake them up. They are beautiful but belong in the hands of someone who really really knows the breed the good and the bad!! Two one hundred pound dogs belong on a farm somewhere not cooped up in your average size house with average size yard.
Jayne October 16, 2012 at 11:46 AM
These dogs don't belong in a neighborhood with children. I would hardly call them a 'gentle breed' if they have already attacked 3 people, unprovoked. As for your son, how about using "people first" language for the disabled. You shouldn't refer to him as your "autistic son" he is your "son with autism" Does his autism define him, it shouldn't. If you care so much about your son having a dog companion, get him a therapy dog, that is trained and certified to react to his behaviors. What if Mrs Kolb's son let's the dogs out the front door, can he control them so they wouldn't go after a child? I doubt it, since Mr & Mrs Kolb can't do that. This has become a blatant disrespect for authority by the Kolbs, why weren't the dogs sent to CA as the Kolbs were instructed originally, because they feel they are above the law...they need to stop using their sons disability for their benefit, and save the dogs they claim to love by relinquishing their rights as owners so the dogs can be sent where they and others will be safe. This has become more about the Kolbs and less about the dogs. Start respecting authority, doing as you were told to do by the judicial system, and maybe people within the township will be less 'hostile' to you.
mayfairwitch1 October 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Oh and $10,000 for a year of boarding 2 one hundred pound dogs seems about right as anyone who has ever boarded a dog knows the rate is by weight and it doesn't matter if you bring your own food or not...as a matter of fact if you do the math they are getting a break on the rate...it comes to about $27-28 a day.
Jayne October 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Exactly...with a neighborhood of innocent children playing outside!
Laura October 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM
What I find interesting is that all of sudden, meaning within the past couple weeks, the family is only now stating that the dog is helping their autistic son. After reading many articles about these dogs, this is the first I am hearing about him.
mayfairwitch1 October 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM
As Jayne said...get your son a certified therapy dog more than likely a Lab, Golden etc etc. They don't "love" their dogs or this would no longer be an issue, they would of gone to California and hopefully enjoyed their lives at a preserve or been rehomed to people who know & understand this breed.
Chickietc October 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM
@ Laura, I agree why all of a sudden. Does she know by using the excuse of her son she may have hopes of getting the dogs back. When will the courts step up and take action! We the people need to stop this no matter where they move to if they get the dogs back. The safety of everyone is in questions kids along with adults. Taking responsibilities for your actions and if you really care so much for them as you "claim" you do you should do what is best for them and dont be selfish .
Amy Gould October 16, 2012 at 02:55 PM
@Jayne- The author of the article referred to the Kolbs' son as autistic, it was not a direct quote from the Kolbs themselves. In my opinion, having worked with autistic children extensively, it is not an unfair or completely defining adjective. It simply gives the reader an automatic understanding of a situation, much like saying the Jones' teenage son. As far as the dog situation goes, my reading of the article has stated that the three incidents are "alleged". Also, knocking someone down at 100 lbs is as simple as bumping into someone. I would love to know and see what the real evidence is here. A lot of hoopla can be made when allegations get out of control. Having represented clients on both sides of this equation, I think it is important to note that NJ's law declaring a dog to be "vicious" is a very simple standard to meet. A he-said, she-said court date is all that is needed. The "victims" always claim it was unprovoked, otherwise they could not readily seek damages under the law. I am sure that all dog owners would agree that it is not as simple as "mayfairwitch" thinks it is. A dog is a part of a family. It is difficult to simply give them up. I have had clients change jurisdictions, just like the Kolbs did to be able to keep their dogs. In this depressed housing market, it is difficult to be able to uproot but I would definitely suggest that it would be in their best interest to do so again (this time out of NJ).
mayfairwitch1 October 16, 2012 at 03:19 PM
@ Amy..per the Jersey Journal: "The dogs were deemed dangerous after three separate attacks in Jersey City in late 2008 and early 2009 and their saga has taken a series of bizarre twists ever since, with authorities threatening to put down the dogs a number of times". The word "alleged" is not used. http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index.ssf/2012/10/ex-jersey_city_dog_owners_have.html The above is only the most recent in the Jersey Journal regarding these dogs. And yes I've had to give up a dog not because he was ill behaved but my life sytle changed to where it was not fair to him to be alone for hours and hours. He was a Lab and found a long happy life with the US Coast Guard, when you "love" your animals, that sometimes means making a painful choice for the better of the animal. Thankfully the moving again part is not even part of the conversation per the municipal prosecutor.
mayfairwitch1 October 16, 2012 at 03:40 PM
She just feels she isright and everyone else is wrong..anyone wants the full scope go to nj.com and type susan kolb in search bar..tons of articales come up.....again I state not the fault of the dogs, it's the owner. http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2011/02/boerboels_accused_of_attacking.html
sue hannon October 16, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Susan and Gary, I want you to know that I met Arthur in the A&P one day as he was saying Hi to everyone he saw and he stopped me and said hey I know you and I said oh yeah how and he said you run. Yes I do and it warmed my heart that he recognized me and I looked at you susan and said, he knows me! I understand how you feel and would do anything to help my children but no parent wants their child to be put in any potential danger. I wish you the best for you and your family.
Jayne October 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM
@Amy...Taken from the above mentioned article: Susan Kolb said her son turned to the dogs as friends and companions, and has never considered them just pets. "It’s a proven fact how much animals can help autistic people,” she said last week. "Arthur isn’t really capable of holding long conversations, but he can have a friendship with an animal. He isn’t able to have that with his peers." Yes Amy...Susan Kolb DID refer to her son as her autistic son. Although I commend you for working with children with autism, as the mother of a child with a disability, stating the disability before the child does in define them. There is something called "People First Language", and I correct anyone when speaking about my child that they are a child first and not defined by their disability. There are many parents of children with disabilities that would agree with me. Maybe as a person just working with children you don't have a full understanding as a parent would. Is it fair to make this someone else's problem? No. The Kolbs were given the option to save their dogs by allowing them to live somewhere where they can be properly trained and hopefully on acres of land where they can run without muzzles. The Kolbs have clearly disobeyed the agreement handed to them by Jersey City. They are now exploiting their son by using his disability as reason to keep their dogs. They have proven their complete disregard for authority, they were given the options, and disobeyed them
james jackson October 21, 2012 at 01:42 PM
if they are required to wear muzzles as it said in the article as they are deemed dangerous and were not they were braking the law and should not be allowed to be returned to the family. peoples safety come first and foremost not animals.
James Joyce October 21, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I was attacked by the dogs in Jersey City on 1/6/2009. I still have the torn pants, briefs, and jacket with the blood on them from the attack. I received 6 stitches on my scrotum and had to get rabies shots until I could prove the dogs had been vaccinated. I even saw Gary Kolb and asked him for proof of the vaccination but he refused so I had to continue with the shots until the second attack one week later when they were taken into custody and found to be fully vaccinated. There is nothing alleged about what happened to me and the lack of respect the Kolbs showed. -James Joyce
mayfairwitch1 October 22, 2012 at 12:01 PM
@ James Joyce....That is simply awful that they would not provide proof of rabies vaccination and you had to endure that as well!!! If they truly "LOVE" their dogs they will let them go to rescue and not be euthanized but somehow I think this is not really about the dogs, but about the Kolbs themselves.....One thing I'm sure of the dogs should NOT be returned to them!

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