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Judge says dog that killed 1-year-old boy can be euthanized

Group seeking to save dog plans to file appeal

Updated Friday, May 11, 2012 | 4:22 p.m.

Judge rules on euthanizing dog

KSNV coverage of judge's decision about euthanizing Onion, the dog that mauled a 1-year-old child, May 13, 2012.

Despite the efforts of a New York-based animal rescue group, Onion — the dog that attacked and killed a 1-year-old boy last month — is still set to be euthanized by Henderson Animal Control.

Clark County District Judge Joanna Kishner on Friday denied a temporary restraining order sought by the Lexus Project Inc. to save the animal from being destroyed.

Kishner ruled that although Lexus has set up a trust in New York that would provide funds to house the dog in an animal sanctuary in Colorado, Lexus does not have any property rights to the dog, so it had no legal right to seek the temporary restraining order.

Those property rights were relinquished to the city of Henderson by the dog’s former owner, Elizabeth Keller, after her 6-year-old, 120-pound Mastiff/Rhodesian mix, killed her grandson, Jeremiah Eskew-Skahan.

The boy was at his grandmother’s Henderson residence on Navarre Lane near Arroyo Grande Boulevard celebrating his birthday on April 27 when he crawled toward Onion to pet him, Henderson Police said.

The dog latched onto the boy’s head and began to shake him as the grandmother tried to pull the boy away from the dog, police said.

Henderson Fire paramedics took the toddler to St. Rose Dominican Hospital–Siena Campus, where he was transported by helicopter to University Medical Center. The boy died at the hospital Saturday. The family subsequently turned the dog over to Henderson Animal Control.

Keith Paul, a Henderson public information officer, said in a statement that the dog will be cared for at the Henderson Animal Control facility until the judge's order is signed. After that, he said, officials "will follow the city's law, which would include euthanizing the dog."

However, in making her ruling, Kishner advised Henderson attorneys that the city shouldn’t take any action until her order has been filed with the court, which is expected to take a few days.

After today’s hearing, which took about an hour and 45 minutes, Chandan Manensingh and Kathy McCarthy, Lexus’ attorneys, said they hoped the order would not be filed for at least a week, which would give them time to seek an appeal.

“I think Nevada took a step backwards,” Manensingh told reporters who crowded around after the hearing.

He said Lexus would continue to try to get the order reversed.

Meanwhile, McCarthy urged those who wished to save the dog to contact Henderson city officials.

According to Henderson’s city ordinance, once a dog is declared vicious, it can be euthanized after a 10-day observation period.

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