Society

Dog that Killed Las Vegas Baby May Get Nevada Supreme Court Hearing

| by Denise A Justin

Onion, the 120-pound Mastiff-Rhodesian Ridgeback-mix dog that killed little Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan on his first birthday at his grandmother's home in Henderson, Nevada, got a stay of execution on May 25, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

A New York animal group, called the Lexus Project, petitioned the Nevada State Supreme Court to consider the case after Distinct Judge Joanna Kishner ruled that the group did not follow proper procedure and had no standing.  Lexus claimed that it could not get a fair hearing in District Court.

On Thursday, May 24, the Nevada Supreme Court rejected the petition to hear the case, saying that its intervention was not warranted, according to the Sun report.

However, on Friday, in a ruling that was not publicly distributed until Tuesday, May 29, the State Supreme Court ordered any action in regard to Onion delayed for 72 hours until District Judge Joanna Kishner rules on the appeal to save the dog. The action to delay was necessary because Onion could have been euthanized on Tuesday.

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According to the Las Vegas Sun report, after Kishner rules, the Supreme Court ordered that the Lexus Project report back on the status of the case. The court indicated it will decide then whether to hear it.

The Lexus Project says it wants Onion released and sent to a sanctuary in Colorado. 

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/may/29/state-supreme-court-refuses-issue-stay-case-killer/

BACKGROUND:

On April 27, 2012, right after his first birthday party, baby Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan crawled across the floor to the dog he had known since he was born and grabbed his fur to pull himself up and give Onion a kiss goodnight. The 120-pound Mastiff-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix that  had been part of the family since he was a puppy suddenly viciously grabbed the little boy’s face in his mouth and ripped it off as he shook the baby, breaking his neck.

After the incident, the family relinquished the dog to Henderson Animal Control for euthanasia. http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/family-dog-kills-baby-las-vegas-his-first-birthday

The Long Island-based Lexus Project animal-rescue group filed a temporary restraining order, and Nevada Judge Rob Bare granted Onion an 11th-hour reprieve on May 7.http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/chicago-rescuer-seeks-release-dog-killed-baby-las-vegas

On May 12 Clark County District Judge Joanna Kishner sided with Henderson city attorneys who argued the attack proved the 6-year-old Mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix is vicious and that an uninvited third party with no ties to the family had no legal right to step in to try to save it. The judge opined, "Despite good intentions ... a party cannot just come in and state on their own that they wish to be a party to this case." http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/chicago-rescuer-seeks-release-dog-killed-baby-las-vegas

Representatives of the Lexus Project told reporters that they have never met the family or the dog.  The issue in question was whether a trust document filed by the group's President, Robin Mittasch, in New York gave her standing to take ownership and custody of the dog.

Judge Kishner ruled that the trust document did not establish ownership. She also cited that the New York organization did not follow proper administrative steps with the City before going to state court. Finally she referred to the fact that nothing in the record contested the declaration that the dog was vicious. Lexus Project attorneys announced at that time that they would appeal. http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/judge-dog-killed-las-vegas-baby-can-be-put-down