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Las Vegas Dog that Killed Baby Still Awaits Court Ruling

On June 4, theLas Vegas Sunreported that the Nevada Supreme Court had issued another stay of execution for Onion, the trusted 6-year-old Mastiff-Rhodesian Ridgeback family dog that suddenly killed babyJeremiah Eskew-Skahan on his first birthday.

The tragic incident occurred on April 27, 2012, at his grandmother's house. Right after his first birthday party, little Jeremiah 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.

Four appeals were filed by a New-York based animal-rescue group, the Lexus Project, one was to stay the euthanasia of the dog after it was declared “vicious” by Henderson animal control officials. Others were to obtain possession of the dog and to have it sent to a Colorado sanctuary. The court granted only the appeal to temporarily prohibit  Henderson officials from taking any action against the dog. This overruled the earlier decision of the Clark County District Appeals Court, which refused to delay the dog’s death.

Two justices signed the order granting a temporary stay, “until further order of the court” to allow for consideration of filings by all parties opposing the stay.

Lexus Project contends that the victim’s grandmother, Elizabeth Keller relinquished ownership and all rights to oppose the dog being adopted by them when she signed Onion over to the shelter for euthanasia. Henderson officials maintain they are now the rightful owners.

Henderson animal control officers declared Onion a vicious dog, which required euthanasia following a state-mandated quarantine. “The dog attacked and killed a child,” animal control spokesman Keith Paul said. “It would be irresponsible of us to allow this dog to be adopted out.”

District Judge Joanna Kishner, heard the appeal by the Lexus group on May 12 and 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.

On May 31, Judge Krishner refused to grant a new stay of execution, thus the Lexus Project appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court. ."

On June 22, theLas Vegas Sunreported Henderson Police Department’s spokesman Keith Paul told them,“We’re still waiting on a decision from the Nevada Supreme Court,” but he refused to comment on documents on file which state that a nonpublic mediation was conducted at the request of the court to try to have the parties reach a settlement.

The Lexus group now contends that Elizabeth Keller, grandmother of the toddler who was killed by the dog in her presence, wants them to be granted possession of Onion and that gives them legal standing to petition for the dog.They have also filedmotions to stop the city from euthanizing the dog. The city has filed counter motions.

Meanwhile, the nonpublic mediation session set up by the Supreme Court was held last Thursday, June 14, in the Henderson City Attorney’s Office. The form filed by the settlement judge assigned to the hearing showed that the effort was not successful and the parties failed to agree.

All the motions before the Supreme Court are pending while the court decides whether to hear the case, Keith Paul told theLas Vegas Sun.if the court decides to take up the matter, it will issue an order establishing a schedule for briefs to be filed with the court.

In the meantime, Henderson Animal Control and Care Facility is taking good care of Onion, said a city police spokesperson. He has been has assigned connecting cages so that he has sufficient room to move around comfortably and get adequate exercise.

For more details on this tragic case, read: t



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