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.