• From: "DOC" <wynsum@xxxxxxx>
  • To: showgsd-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2007 13:12:28 -0500

NOTES: THe man was told in his own language not to come on the property.  So 
when he did, was he not committing CRIMINAL TRESSPASS?  I thought you 
could not collect money if you werre committing a crime.  Isn't coming to this 
country ILLEGALLY also a crime? Isn't it a crime to KNOWINGLY hire someone 
who does not have a green card?  I know that there are forms you complete upon 
hire that require an employer to get a photo copy of your Driver's License, SS 
and Green card if an alien.

Read the story carefully.  THE DOG did not bite until the gardner ATTACKED the 

Judge orders shepherd destroyed after vicious attack Thursday, November
08, 2007

BY LINDA STEIN PRINCETON TOWNSHIP -- A family whose beloved German
shepherd faces death for having led a dog attack on a landscaper is
devastated by the news but vows to continue to fight to save him.

"He needs to come home," said Guy James, the Princeton homeowner who
managed to call his dogs off the landscaper, but only after the worker was
severely mauled in the June 5 attack.

"He's innocent. He did nothing more than protect my wife. He never bit
anyone until she was grabbed and pulled to the ground," James said.

Congo has been ruled vicious by a municipal judge and ordered put down.

"As a family, it's destroyed our way of living," said James, 46. "We're
just consumed with the whole thing."

The landscaper, Giovanni Rivera, has won a $250,000 insurance settlement
as a result of serious injuries he sustained in the attack, which occurred
when he and others disobeyed instructions from James not to get out of th
eir car until Congo and several other dogs on the property could be
sequestered for safety.

Rivera, a Trenton man, was on the 10-acre, fenced property on Stuart Road
to do yard work. The landscaping crew had arrived before 7 a.m., about an
hour before they were expected.

James, who was about to take a shower, called out a window to them in
Spanish, telling them to get back in their car and wait because the dogs
were in the backyard being fed.

While the dogs, two 2 1/2-year-old German shepherds and their four
6-month-old puppies, had not had problems with people on the property
before, James said in an interview that he didn't want them to interfere
with the wo rkers. Also, he wanted the workers to wait until he was
dressed so that he could tell them what to do, he said.

Instead, Rivera and another worker got out of the car after a few minutes
and the dogs began to bark. That worker began to hit the dogs with a metal
rake and Elizabeth James, Guy James' wife, yelled for him to stop.
Meanwhile, Rivera, who was afraid of the dogs, grabbed her from behind and
pulled her to the ground, causing her to scream. At that point Congo began
to bite and scratch Rivera and some of the puppies joined in.

 "The whole thing was pretty terrifying," Elizabeth James said. "You can't
 imagine. I was scared. It happened extremely fast. I didn't have time to

Meanwhile, her 8-year-old son, Ben, ran into the house to get his father.
Moments later, Guy James hurried out and called off the dogs.

Rivera, who was treated for bites at a local hospital, settled with the
couple's insurance carrier for the $250,000, Guy James said.

Rivera's lawyer, Kevin Riechelson, said his client has scars from the dog
bites and scratches that may be permanent on his arms, legs and torso.
Rivera still suffers from numbness in his leg but is able to walk.

"He had a really deep wound on his right thigh," Riechelson said.
"Luckily, his face wasn't touched."

In addition to the $250,000 settlement, the Jameses' insurer agreed to pay
medical bills and worker's compensation claims for Rivera, Riechelson

The Jameses' children, especially Ben who witnessed the attack, have been
"crying nonstop," Elizabeth James said. "They've been on an emotional
rollercoaster." Their dog has been placed in a shelter while the court
proces s plays out.

Hannah James, 11, wrote a letter to Judge Russell Annich Jr. saying in
part, "I am so upset seeing my dog locked up in jail for doing his job.
When my friends are over they play with and around Congo and have no
 I want you to know that this is coming from my heart and I mean it with
 all my heart and soul. Actually, my broken heart. We will never ever
 forget this for the rest of our lives. You have made the wrong decision
 in my e

And Congo, who is being held at Save a Friend of Homeless Animals, is
depressed and anxious, Guy James said. He now has to be hand-fed or he
will not eat.

Meanwhile, James' lawyer, Robert Lytle, argued at a hearing in Municipal
Court that the attack had been provoked and under New Jersey law, the dogs
had a right to protect themselves and their owner.

 But some, including municipal prosecutor Kim Otis, argue that the Jameses
 should have had control over the dogs and were negligent.

Indeed, Judge Annich found that "the prevailing circumstances did not
constitute provocation and that the attack upon Mr. Rivera, initiated by
Congo and subsequently by the other dogs present, continuing unabated for
thre e minutes, was a response grossly disproportionate to the prevailing

Guy James pointed to testimony from dog behavior expert and University of
Pennsylvania professor Ilana Reisner, who said that in her professional
opinion James' dogs were "clearly provoked."

"Based on these threats (unfamiliar individuals, perceived threatening
position, the attack on the puppies with a metal rake, grabbing the owner
from behind and pulling to the ground) the dogs were compelled to defend
the mselves and their owner," Reisner wrote.

"I am so sorry for what happened but it was not out of viciousness," Guy
James said. "This was a provoked attack and any dog would protect its
owner in the same manner. I can't imagine that any dog -- who was beat
with a rake, hard enough to cause bloody gashes, and then had its owner
grabbed from behind -- would walk away without action."

Guy James also garnered statements from several people who had been on his
property and attested to the dogs' friendly behavior, including John
Pettenati, the township building inspector. In fact Pettenati nicknamed
them "the happy dogs" because they were so pleasant.

Guy James said that while he and his family were waiting for their house
to be finished they lived for several months at a hotel. During that time
Congo and his mate, Lucia, interacted with maids and others and never caus
ed a problem, he said.

James also sent Congo and Lucia to the American Dog School in Denver for
obedience training. James stressed that the dogs were trained for
obedience, not as guard dogs. The four puppies are currently at that
school, he sa id. Five of their siblings were adopted and one of those
dogs is being trained to be a police dog in Pennsylvania, Guy James said.

Meanwhile, an article in The Times and reports in other media outlets have
spurred the public into action on Congo's behalf.

Kat McAfee of the Coalition for Action in the Interests of Animals has
organized the Coalition to Free Congo. She expects hundreds to come to a
rally Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the municipal building at 400 Witherspoon St.
in Princeton.

McAfee said they hope to save Congo's life by "bringing pressure on the
powers that be."

Annich is expected to place his ruling on the record Tuesday afternoon.

For his part, Guy James said he has received thousands of letters and
e-mails and thanked those who have offered their support.

"Congo is a fantastic family pet who is loved by everyone we know and many
we don't," James said. "We will not let this rest for the sake of all dogs
and their owners, and most of all, our family and Congo."

Guy James plans to appeal Annich's ruling to Superior Court.
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