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Dogs Help My Autistic Son, Jefferson Woman Says

Susan and Gary Kolb to decide this week if they will forfeit animals or risk them being killed.

She said her 19-year-old son, Arthur, who is severely autistic, doesn’t understand it, either.

“It’s a proven fact how much animals can help autistic people,” Kolb said. “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.

“How can I teach Arthur that there is justice in the world when we moved here and now his dogs are being taken away,” she said.

Kolb would like the township to understand that she has no reason to own dogs that would harm anyone.

“I’m married, I have a business, I like to cook, I have the blessing of a wonderful son, does this sound like the profile of someone who would have killer dogs,” she asked. “Why would we have spent the last three years training them if they were that dangerous?”

After a series of incidents in Jersey City, followed by a contempt charge in Jefferson Township, Kolb and her husband Gary may be forced to forfeit the two African Borboel dogs or face them being euthanized.

The Kolbs will be in municipal court in Jefferson on Thursday night to give the court their decision after prosecutor James LaSala offered them one week to decide whether to forfeit the dogs before he proceeded with a motion that could include euthanization of the animals.

Court records indicate that the dogs knocked over a woman and her grandchild in Jersey City in 2008, and bit people twice in 2009.

Kolb said she has explanations for each incident, and believes that her dogs were not at fault in any of the Hudson County cases.

In October 2011, the Kolbs agreed to move the dogs to their current residence in Oak Ridge. State law required 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 three-foot leashes.

However, according to Jefferson police, the Kolbs were cited for walking the dogs without a muzzle on Oct. 18, 2011, putting them in contempt of the agreement they had signed.

Kolb explained that on the morning in question, Jumba removed his muzzle because a bear was nearby and he panicked. Imani’s muzzle was on the whole time police were present, she said.

“We have complied with every point of the agreement,” Kolb said. “The police even came and inspect our house to be sure everything was in order so the neighbors were comfortable. We even had a police escort out of Jersey City.”

Jefferson Mayor Russell Felter contended that township officials didn’t know the dogs were coming until well after they’d arrived.

“We inspected the house after the incident last October, but not before,” he said.

“It’s just shocking to me the way the town is lying,” Kolb said.

Jumba and Imani currently reside at Woofs N Whiskers in Andover, and the Kolbs go visit them every day, bringing them food.

“Yet we are still charged $25 a day for their care, and I don’t understand, since we bring them food and watch them eat it,” Kolb said.

“The charge is for boarding,” Felter said. “Any place that shelters animals requires a boarding fee, and owners still have to bring food.”

 The Kolbs have to make their decision public in court on Thursday, as Judge William Bowkley told them it is time to “fish or cut bait.”

The Kolbs have not indicated what their decision will be, and their attorney Robert Dunn said he will “have a decision by the next hearing.”

The Kolbs have the right to appeal the municipal court’s decision.

“I think this is still America, and Jefferson Township doesn’t have the right to ignore all the laws of the whole country,” Kolb said.

For more information on Jumba and Imani, visit www.savenjdogs.com.

Jayne October 09, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I'm sorry, but your son does not benefit from these 2 dogs. Your son would benefit from a trained and certified therapy dog. These dogs are neither certified or trained, if they have already attacked 3 people, unprovoked, who is to say they will not attack your son? You need to stop blaming Jefferson because you have not complied with your terms of the agreement, first of which was to move out of Jersey City and move to California. These dogs are dangerous, and you should be more concerned for the safety and well being of your son, rather than putting so much effort into fighting for these dogs. They obviously can't be trusted, especially not if the dog can remove a muzzle when it wants.
Charles Jackson October 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM
The Kolbs neglect to mention the fact that after the biting incidents in Jersey City in 2008 and 2009 (note that there were at least three reported, numerous others unreported), they agreed to move the dogs out of state under a COURT ORDER. Then the dogs were found at their home again in the beginning of 2011 - they completely ignored the municipal court order and acted above the law (not to mention didn't pay the fines). Yet, despite ignoring a valid court order, they were given the dogs back after they agreed to move to Jefferson and keep the dogs muzzled when out on public streets, into a neighborhood where there are numerous small children - they were very lucky to get the dogs back despite their choosing to violate a court order! While a police officer caught the dogs unmuzzled, at least one neighbor had seen them unmuzzled outside before. They violate a court order, still get to keep the dogs, then violate another court order, and think the community should accomodate them? If you can't do the time, DON'T DO THE CRIME! They also think the dogs are not dangerous but if people in Jefferson only new what happened in Jersey City, they wouldn't want these dogs around their community either. People in Jefferson are just fortunate that the dogs have been kept in a shelter for most of the time since the Kolbs moved there and not out in public to cause problems.
Devon October 09, 2012 at 04:15 PM
She can't understand how the town would make her want to give up her dogs? Does she look outside her house and see the 20 small children running around in front of her house? These dogs have attacked several people and no matter how much training they receive I would never feel comfortable with them in my neighborhood. Can she say with 100% certainty that the dogs will never get out? It is impossible to promise. I can't understand for one moment how someone with dogs deemed "dangerous" would move onto such a tiny block populated with so many small children. I feel for her son and I feel for her dogs but a responsible pet owner who loves their dogs would surrender them to a rescue where they could live a good life instead of risking their lives. Remember the Judgement of Solomon...the true mother let the baby go. I also want to point out the Kolb's use of the Holocaust as an analogy to their situation on their website soliciting donations, it is sickening. Shame on them and anyone donating money to them. They broke the law many times over. Their dogs and son are suffering because of that. There has been no injustice in this case unless you count the injustice of allowing them to continue to get away with breaking the law. Jefferson is sympathetic to them despite their blatant disregard of multiple court rulings. Jefferson should be applauded for giving them the option to save these dogs when they could have just moved forward with their case to have them put down.
Rich October 09, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Obviously, the Kolbs are no more than scofflaws. They were forced from Jersey City for multiple failures to keep the dogs under control, and decided to move to Jefferson to avoid having to comply with the JC laws. Now, they want to do the same thing in Jefferson, and are using their son as their defense. They even go so far as to try and get around the fees that the kennel charges. Sounds like a very responsible (and neighborly) couple...
Charles Jackson October 09, 2012 at 07:53 PM
They are sick to use the Holocaust as an analogy to solicit donations. That is just so ridiculous I won't even bother with a counter-argument for that.
tuscany October 23, 2012 at 05:04 PM
How Susan can say "We have complied with every point of the agreement,” Kolb said. “The police even came and inspect our house to be sure everything was in order so the neighbors were comfortable." is beyond me. The neighbors didn't know they were coming until they moved in with these dangerous dogs. The neighbors are not comfortable at all. I also hold the home owner who rents this house to them at fault. Didn't he ever hear of a background check? Or is his that money hungery to put 25 families at risk. MOVE OUT!!
linda marie anthony February 24, 2013 at 07:07 AM
to gary and susan...call the north shore animal league of america 16 LEWAYT STREET......PORT WASHINGTON, NY 11050 TO SEE IF THEY CAN HELP YOU FIND A PLACE FOR IMANI THEY ARE TRULY A NO-KILLED SHELTER IN THE USA wwwAnimalLeague.com i'm unsure of their phone number..look in the email address..it may be there...i pray to the 3 of you a blessed and happy ending...blessed be...linda anthony

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