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October 8, 2015

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Rescue group pleads with judge to spare killer dog

Dog attacks, kills infant

KSNV coverage of fatal dog attack and interview with grief-stricken father, April 28, 2012.

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.

The fate of a 120-pound dog that killed a toddler at home in Henderson was being discussed Friday at a meeting involving a Nevada judge, city attorneys and lawyers for a New York-based animal rescue group that wants to send the animal to a sanctuary outside Denver.

Clark County District Court Judge Joanna Kishner was being asked to reconsider a May 11 ruling giving Henderson city officials the go-ahead to euthanize the animal as vicious. Kishner said at the time the Lexus Project didn't have legal standing to take possession of the 6-year-old mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix named Onion.

No immediate decision was expected Friday on the request, court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said.

The situation has drawn intense interest and an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, which issued an order this week halting any action against the dog pending Kishner's ruling. The animal is healthy and being kept at an animal control shelter, Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul said.

Henderson officials took ownership of the dog from the child's grandmother on April 27, minutes after the fatal mauling of the 1-year-old boy. Family members later said the dog reacted suddenly when the toddler grabbed its fur to pull himself to a standing position.

The family later said in a statement that ownership of the dog had been turned over to Henderson animal control officers, and family members would no longer comment on its future.

Rescue group head Robin Mittasch submitted documents to the court saying the grandmother didn't know what she was signing when she gave up ownership to the city, and that she wanted the animal to go to the Lexus Project.

Lawyer Kathy McCarthy, representing the Lexus Project, said the grandmother's move gave the rescue group a legal basis to take the dog.

Kishner didn't publicly release a time for Friday's closed-door meeting. Lawyers for the Lexus Project of Oceanside, N.Y., did not respond Thursday and Friday to messages.

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