The Jefferson couple fighting to get their two 100-plus pound African Boerboels back will have one more week to come up with the money a prosecutor says they owe the township or they will risk having them euthanized.
At Susan and Gary Kolb's court appearance on Thursday night, Judge William Bowkley agreed to a deal from Prosecutor James LaSala that gives the couple until Nov. 1 to come up with the $11,000 the couple owes the township for housing their dogs.
"We have a reason to believe that they can pay all of the storage fees by next week," LaSala said after court. "If they're able or willing to do that we can have more patience as to when they're going to resolve the case."
This is the second time the case was postponed after another two-week delay earlier this month.
If the Kolbs don't come up with the money, LaSala said he'd search for another month for an out-of-state facility to house the dogs. If that doesn't work, he said the dogs will be euthanized.
LaSala said he's already been searching for three weeks to find a place to send the dogs because they're too big for their current facility, Woofs N Whiskers in Andover.
"My ultimate goal is to forfeit the dogs or to find an appropriate professional facility to take care of them," he said. "If that can't be done, we'll have the dogs euthanized."
If the couple is able to come up with the money at their next court appearance on Thursday, LaSala said they would "agree to wait until the criminal case is over or for at least a reasonable period of time."
The criminal case is going on with the Superior Court in Morristown for walking the dogs without the muzzles. The civil case is in Jefferson, involving the forfeiture of the dogs.
On Thursday night, Robert Dunn, the Kolbs' attorney, said he would ask a Superior Court judge to hold off on the civil case until the criminal case is resolved.
Both Kolbs have been charged with contempt of court in different instances.
If the Kolbs are able to pay the money by next week and if Dunn's request to the Superior Court judge is denied, LaSala said the case would be put on hold until the criminal matters against the Kolbs are heard.
LaSala said if convicted in the criminal case, the Kolbs could face a maximum of 18 months in jail because it's a fourth-degree crime. They have already been convicted once in Hudson County, he said.
Dunn asked Bowkley to recuse himself from the case and suggested impropriety, but Bowkley said that although he had already heard testiomony from officials before he agreed to take the dogs, it wouldn't alter his opinion in dealing with this case.
The dogs have cost the township $11,000 since they were taken away from the owners in October 2011 when they violated a statue for walking them without a muzzle.
The Kolbs have disagreed with the charges filed against them in the past, and said the dogs have .
The Kolbs moved to Oak Ridge last year after the two dogs allegedly knocked over a woman and her grandchild in 2008 and allegedly bit two people in 2009. All three alleged incidents occurred by their previous home in Jersey City.
The Kolbs 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.
Once they moved to Jefferson, they 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.
Once they broke the law walking the dogs without the muzzle within the same month they moved to Jefferson, the dogs were taken away.
Susan Kolb has disagreed with the $11,000 that they owe to the township because they provide food for the dogs, but Jefferson Mayor Russell Felter has said the charge is for the facility's daily boarding fee.
The Kolbs have created savenjdogs.com, a website where they updated their story. They have raised more than $4,000 since May 23 toward their goal of $20,000 for the "Jumba and Imani Defense Fund."