A Jefferson Township couple has one week to decide whether to forfeit their two African Boerboel dogs to the municipality, and they have vowed to fight the town's ruling.
Gary and Susan Kolb of Oak Ridge were in municipal court on Thursday on a motion brought by Prosecutor James LaSala regarding forfeiture of the dogs.
“We will give the Kolbs one week to decide if they will forfeit the dogs to the township,” LaSala said. “If they agree to those terms, we will send the dogs to a facility outside of the state where they can possibly be trained, although I’m not entirely convinced that’s possible,” LaSala told Judge William Bowkley.
"So next week it's fish or cut bait," Bowkley said.
As part of the agreement, the Kolbs must also work out a payment plan to repay the township $10,000 that it has spent to house the dogs for the last year, LaSala said.
The two 100-pound dogs have been housed by Jefferson Township since last October. Part of their time was spent at the Jefferson Pound, but they now reside at Woofs N Whiskers in Andover, according to Deputy Police Chief William Craig.
According to a story in The Daily Record, court records from Jersey City in Hudson County showed the dogs attacked knocked over a woman holding her six-month-old granddaughter in September 2008 and bit people twice in January 2009. During one of those attacks, Susan Kolb was pulled to the ground while trying to restrain the dogs.
The Kolbs signed an agreement to sell the dogs to a buyer in Los Angeles, but reneged on that agreement and was held in contempt of court in 2010.
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, the Daily Record reported.
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.
“If the Kolbs don’t accept this agreement, we will move forward with our motion,” LaSala said. The motion includes the possible euthanization of the dogs.
The Kolbs’ attorney, Robert Dunn, told the court they would make a decision and advise the court at their next appearance on Oct. 11. However, Susan Kolb appeared determined to fight.
“We’re going to take our attorney’s advice, but I think we’re going to fight and we’re going to win,” she said. “These are not attack dogs, they are defense dogs. It is phenomenal that they would make us leave New Jersey to be with our dogs.
"I'm a business woman and a mother. Do you really think I would have dangerous dogs that would harm kids?"