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'Heartbroken' Family Agrees To Give Up Dog

Jefferson residents Susan and Gary Kolb's dog Imani would be moved to a facility out of state, per agreement with officials.

The legal battle may be over, but for the Kolb family, the mourning process is just beginning.

After a protracted court struggle to win back custody of their pets, Susan and Gary Kolb have agreed to let the animal go in exchange for keeping their dog out of harms way.

"This is not the outcome we were hoping for," Susan Kolb said in an e-mail. "My husband is broken-hearted and so is my son."

Susan and Gary Kolb agreed to forfeit their Boerboel named Imani as a way to resolve a criminal charge and civil forfeiture issues plaguing the Jefferson residents. 

Kolb agreed to transferring Imani to a Utah facility that specializes in handling Boerboels, and according to Kolb, if the transfer happens by April 10, the state is willing to halt prosecution on a charge of violating a consent order she signed in Jersey City in October 2011.

"There are still a lot of hurdles to overcome so we are reserving our judgement until the agreement is signed and Imani is safe and out of harm's way," Kolb said.

Last week, Jefferson Township prosecutor James LaSala said he did not see the Kolbs bringing Imani home and anticipated the trial ending, “by forwarding the request to forfeit the dog and authorize to euthanize/put down Imani.”

At the time, LaSala said he is was 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.

"Gary can't believe he is being asked to give up Imani whom he has spent so many wonderful hours bonding with," Susan Kolb said. "Training and getting to know all because of a minor infraction in the middle of the night that caused no one any harm."

Susan and her husband Gary 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 Kolb.

Gary and Susan Kolb have 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.

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.

The Kolbs continued to try to regain possession of Imani, who is kenneled in Hackettstown.

For her part, Susan Kolb said the infraction of the dog removing his own muzzle could have gone unnoticed if not for three "self appointed vigilantes who had nothing better to do."

Now the Kolb family will say goodbye to another member of their extended family.

"Imani is a member of our family and we have tried to protect her and Jumba with everything we have and as vigorously as possible," Susan Kolb said.


suzie March 20, 2013 at 07:56 PM
This is what it looks like when you love a pet. You focus on saving their life rather then your own pain. While grossly unfair, this selfless decision guarantees that their beloved girl will live her life in safely and freedom rather than severely restricted at home or dead in the pound. They have also saved their neighbors thousands of dollars by ending the witch hunt. Kudos to the Kolbs.
Steven Rosch March 20, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Who cares if they have saved their neighbors money. There will always be another witch hunt for bored or ignorant rednecks or whatever they are. If this dog has a temperment like a Shepherd it will likely die of a broken heart.
Vicki Murley March 20, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Totally unfair. Go after the people who abuse their dogs and cats, who let them run and are hit by cars, tied to trees or old tires and have no human contact, and the list is endless. I feel very sorry for the Kolbs. Prayers sent your way.
J Ant March 21, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Imani has been missed by my family since December. The Kolbs are very nice people who only wanted their family home. Imani interacted with many people (town officials and their visitors) with no issues. This is sad and I can not even believe this is what it has come down to. I will say this these dogs were bordered at a location where animals were neglected all the time and law officials were to worried about the Kolbs instead of where the attention really needed to be. It's all come down to one neighbor having a stick up there butt and then the were the target. Imani did nothing wrong not even in Jersey City so this is cruel and unusual punishment. They have locked Imani up for a long time with an hour a day of feeling free. The town has killed Jumba already and now the are about to do it to Imani. She knows who her family is and she was always excited to see them for that hour of freedom and bonding time. Something is not right with this.
Karen Jernark March 21, 2013 at 05:18 AM
This case is totally a disgrace to ALL pet owners!!! I do not agree with any of it. I know that dealing with any pet, regardless of breed ( I own a pit bull) that discrimating people will always be a problem. From what I saw the Kolbs learned from their past mistakes and did take precautionary measures with using a muzzle. Maybe the police office that said he didn't see the muzzle was just prejudiced from their past mistakes in Jersy City. No One can predict any animal but tottake them away from any owner, put them in a shelter that wont and cant accomadate them--then bring those animals home were they deserve to be!! I know from my own expierence that my neighbors would make false calls to JT animal control just based on my dog's breed. Prayers and love go out the Kolbs. I hope the wheels of justice will somehow make this horrendous situation right--one way or another before it's too late for Imani.
Michelle Rosiek March 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Thoughts and prayers going out the Kolb family. Being a pet owner, I can only imagine the pain and heartbreak they are experiencing right now and during this long, drawn out court battle.
Jennifer C. March 21, 2013 at 02:25 PM
I agree, this poor animal has lost their buddy/mate, their freedom living in a horrible environment all alone and now their family for the rest of their lives. Kudos to the Kolbs for this heart-breaking decision to keep Imani alive....or else the witch hunt would surely have ended in killing Imani, too. We have 3 rescue dogs and 3 rescue kitties and the Kolbs made mistakes that they learned from. The decision to unmuzzle them where they thought it safe because no one was there was a mistake that they will pay for the rest of their lives. I hope they move out of Jefferson and start a new life somewhere and keep in touch with Imani's life. So sorry for your losses, my heart goes out to you.
Elizabeth Murray March 21, 2013 at 02:26 PM
I wonder if the 3 adults that the dogs 'allegedly" attacked would have the same attitude as the current supporters of the Kolb family. Those who have arrived late to the party have glossed over the facts of the matter. Mr and Mrs Kolb obtained dogs that they were incapable of controlling. When threatened with confiscation of their pets, on good grounds, they fled to Jefferson Township. Within the first month of moving onto a cul de sac with more than 2 dozen young children, they violated the rules which allowed them to keep their pets. You might call their neighbors "vigilantes" but I call them concerned citizens. The Kalbs have fabricated a story whereby they and their pets are the victims of law enforcement. Nonsense, they bought dogs that they were Ill equipped to handle, their dogs attacked on 3 occasions that are documented, they violated the rules by which they were allowed to keep their dogs and they prolonged the agony of removal of said pets by their arrogance. Justice is served and the neighborhood children are protected. End of story, hopefully. Get yourselves a pair of toy poodles.
Chris Johnson March 21, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Elizabeth Murray, agreed. It's important that somebody set the story straight here, including their defiance of a 2009 court order, because this family has done a great job of manipulating the press, especially with that picture (designed to make people sympathetic to them no doubt) that was on a lot of news websites way too long. If the dog is to be sent to Utah under court order, I'll believe it when I see it, given that the 2009 court order was ignored. With all that has gone on with this case for the past five (or more) years, these people got off really easy.
Nancy Jones March 21, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Yes it's a sad end. Too bad the neighbourhood children can't be protected from the hysteria and mob mentality of the ignorant ones who continue to use this situation to fan the flames of fear and hatred in their neighbourhood.
Elizabeth Murray March 21, 2013 at 04:24 PM
You call it mobentality but it is simply parents wanting to protect themselves and their children from irresponsible pet owners. By pandering to the notion that they have more rights than the community at large, they have portrayed themselves as martyrs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is not a neighborhood afraid of dogs. They are afraid of owners who cannot control their dogs. Dogs bred to protect families from lion attack. Do not attempt to pull the dog hater card. Nonsense. And I will be waiting to send how they pay back the fees they owe in their foot dragging effort to thwart justice.
Karen Currier March 21, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Set the story straight? Really? Two alledged dog attacks. A person who was knocked over with a child is very unfortunate. However, this appears to be an abuse of power by the attorney and a vendetta against the family. Why didn't the District Attorney of Jefferson County fine the Kolbs and demand the dogs be retrained? Leaving a dogs in a kennel for such a long time to punish the owners is animal cruelty. I'm sure there are more important Judicial issues in Jefferson County to handle than harassment of its citizens.
Chris Johnson March 21, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Two other people in Jersey City were bit as well Karen. I would be concerned if I lived in that neighborhood of Jefferson (the township, there is no Jefferson County in New Jersey). The District Attorney was doing his job and was up against people who acted above the law, defying a court order from 2009 that required the dogs to be sent out of state and dragged out the process in court up until now. Perhaps you are right about the animal cruelty issue but it might never have occurred had these people done what they were supposed to do from back in 2009 (which this newspaper hasn't mentioned very much of, understandable since it is for Jefferson and not Jersey City). Of all the supporters that these people have, are there any who LIVE in their Jefferson neighborhood AND have posted on these boards? Doesn't look like it, although I could be wrong. But if there's a supporter that lives near their home, right in the same neighborhood, it would be great to hear from you.
Elizabeth Murray March 21, 2013 at 06:30 PM
The Kolbs were offered a placement for their dogs but chose the route of confinement while they contested Jefferson Township's sentence. The town acted with fairness, the Kolbs chose to prolong the dogs' stay in the kennel for the own selfish reasons. Unfortunately the dogs had to suffer for the heartlessness of their owners. They should have accepted the fact that they were not able to provide the correct habitat for their dogs, wished them well and sent them to live in peace. I can only wish that there were a law that prevents this misguided pair from obtaining a dog larger than 12 pounds. But I fear we have not heard the last of them. Thank you Jefferson Township for not pushing your problem onto another town like JC did.
Rosie Brown March 21, 2013 at 09:46 PM
You have a dog that bit two people, you were asked to do specific things when walking it, you chose not to. Dog owners should not be complacent when it comes to public safety. These consequences are entirely your fault and could have been avoided.
Jayne March 21, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Finally justice is being served. I'm glad the dog will not be euthanized, but will go to a place where it can live and not be used as a legal pawn to create a website for thousands of dollars. As for the neighbors, not rednecks, by a long shot, I'm sure we pay more taxes than most of you. Take a ride up here, come look at the development where everyone lives, you will find that the size of the home and property is not big enough for dogs that size. According to previous legal reports, the dogs did attack and bite more than 1 person, do you see the size of mrs Kolb and the dogs? Does it look like she can handle even 1 of them? Kudos to Jefferson for taking care of jersey city's problem, finally. If the Kolbs just sent the dogs to CA like they were legally supposed to, this would have all been avoided. I'm not so sure all of you who think this is such a huge injustice would feel the same if the Kolbs and dogs lived next door to you and your kids.
Rita Ross March 22, 2013 at 03:35 PM
I would like the 'answers' to R. Barone's 3 questions, below, that she posed to a woman who sympathized with the Kolbs. (Sorry. I forgot the young lady's name. Probably "Amber.") R. Barone is why America is being dumbed down. And I agree with those who believe Imani should be returned to the Kolbs. I can't see the Kolbs continuing to reside in Jefferson - it makes sense for them to move - so Imani's return to the Kolbs would no longer threaten the community. "R Barone 3:49 pm on Saturday, March 16, 2013 And we all still don't know if Amber has children, because if not......stop talking. Do you even know where they live???? Ugh oh , another question you won't answer. It's really easy 3 questions...........you tell me the answers. "You see the train moves , not the station."... Anybody who thinks "pets" have a greater importance than humans, might want to run around the block a couple million times. I love cuckoo clocks!!!!!"
Rita Ross March 22, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Before there is a rash of posts to correct me when I wrote "Imani's return to the Kolbs would no longer threaten the community," I am aware Kolb agreed to transfer Imani to a Utah facility that specializes in handling Boerboels and ... if the transfer happens by April 10, the state is willing to halt prosecution on a charge of violating a consent order she [Kolb] signed in Jersey City in October 2011." What happens if the transfer does not happen by April 10th? As for James LaSala, the prosecutor, he gives me the creeps, the way cockroaches give me the creeps. LaSala is so eager to have Imani/Jumba killed. Well, he got his wish with Jumba's dying. Is he going to run for re-election on the premise he kept Jefferson Township safe by taking the dogs away from the Kolbs? What a campaign platform that would be.
Erin C March 22, 2013 at 06:42 PM
THIS, SO MUCH THIS!!
Chris Johnson March 25, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Mr. LaSala was not elected, he was appointed by the Mayor of Jefferson, who hasn't commented on this at all, as far as I've heard. There is no campaign platform for the prosecutor, because there hasn't been any campaign, nor will there ever be. Prosecutors are not elected in Jefferson or in most municipalities in New Jersey. You can trash Mr. LaSala all you want, he is simply doing his job. The Kolbs defied a court order - I thought I covered that before!
Rita Ross March 25, 2013 at 02:11 PM
My error for saying LaSala was elected. Just what is there for the Mayor to comment on? Do you really think the Mayor would criticize LaSala? After all, LaSala is 'protecting' the people of Jefferson. You keep on blaming the Kolbs for defying the court order, and I keep on saying you should blame the officials for not doing anything when they defied the court order. To quote your constant refrain, I thought I covered that before! That the Kolbs did not send Jumba and Imani to California is understandable. They wanted their dogs and who knows the initial pressure on them when they agreed to send them. Again, I thought I covered that before!
james joyce April 01, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Hey muppets, wake up and read through your tears for a second. Coincidences don't exist. There is not a conspiracy between Jersey City and Jefferson Township and their neighbors to take the Kolb's dogs away from them. They were taken away because these people are incredibly irresponsible. I was bit by these dogs in Jersey City in 2009 and the owners did not act like a resonsible dog owner. Instead they refused to help me, refused to give me any information on them (the Kolbs) or their dogs, and failed to report a dog attack to the police. Where is the logic behind this sympathy for the family? People bad mouthed Michael Vick for being a bad dog owner but people can cheer on the Kolbs? These guys are horrible dog owners as well. Please trust me on this for your own good: you do not want Susan and Gary Kolb owning a dog. You don't. They are irresponsible parents and dog owners. You have a handful of stories about these people, I lived in their neighborhood in Jersey City and once I was attacked I heard all the other people telling me their experiences with this joke of a family. Cheer on the responsible but do not empathize with somebody just because they say they are sad. Let's start holding people accountable.
Jim Copeland April 06, 2013 at 01:25 PM
One of my neighbors has a dog that he says is a Bazinge ( I have never heard of this breed or seen anything quite like it) while I was out walking a few weeks ago he came out of his house and then he bent down and took off the dogs muzzle.At first I thought that he was planning an attack but he kept him on his leash.I tried to lighted the situation up a little by joking that it looked like he had reversed what people normaly do.and then he volunteered that his Grand Children were visiting. I walk a different way now. I think that when it comes to Family pets people lose thier minds. JC
Rita Ross April 06, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Jim Copeland: The dog is a Basenji, not "Bazinge." That your neighbor has his dog wear a muzzle when his grandchildren are visiting indicates a person who should never have a pet. Note the comment below which comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on basenji, visit Britannica.com. , "It (the Basenji] is clean and gentle." Also from Encyclopaedia Britannica Concise: [Basenji] Ancient breed of hound native to central Africa, where it is used to point and retrieve and to drive quarry into a net. Known as the barkless dog, it produces a variety of sounds other than barks. Its finely wrinkled forehead, erect ears, and tightly curled tail give it a characteristic alert expression. It has a short, silky reddish brown, black, or black-and-tan coat and white feet, chest, and tail tip. It stands 16–17 in. (41–43 cm) high and weighs 22–24 lbs (10–11 kg). It is clean and gentle. This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on basenji, visit Britannica.com.
Karen Currier April 12, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Was it a vicious attack, Mr. Joyce? Please explain so we can understand your obvious hostility.

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