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New Jersey Dog Owner Swipes Her Pets From Shelter During Hurricane

A Jersey City, New Jersey woman, whose dangerous dogs had been impounded since she violated an order to send them away, apparently took the dogs home in the chaos as Hurricane Irene approached.

“We believe there is evidence she had them but it was in the context of the evacuation of the shelter,” said Hudson County New Jersey Prosecutor Edward DeFazio of Susan Kolb, 60, whose South African Boerboels were tied to several attacks.

“It looks like there was a misunderstanding in that somebody other than the owner should have removed the dogs,” the prosecutor said.

The dogs were returned a day after they were discovered missing.

After the attacks in 2008 and 2009, which sent three adults and a baby to the hospital, Jersey City impounded the 160- and 100-pound dogs.

They faced possible euthanization under the state Vicious Dog Law, but Kolb went to trial to defend them in Jersey City Municipal Court.

The dogs’ lives were spared as a result of an agreement reached in May 2009 in which Kolb promised in court to send the dogs out of state. Kolb’s violation of that court order has triggered new proceedings against the dogs in municipal court under the Vicious Dog Law. Their lives are again in the balance.

In January police found the dogs at Kolb’s home and she was arrested on warrants for unpaid municipal court fines and charged with criminal contempt of court in Superior Court. The dogs were impounded at the Liberty Humane Society pending the outcome of the new Vicious Dog proceedings.

On Saturday, the shelter was being evacuated when it was found that Kolb’s dogs were missing. Police went to Kolb’s home looking for them but they did not find her or the dogs and the man that answered the door was uncooperative. On Sunday, a man brought the dogs back to the shelter.

Kolb pleaded guilty to the contempt charge on Aug. 24 and is expected to get probation when sentenced on Oct. 7 by Superior Court Judge Lisa Rose. No new charges have been filed against her for the brief reunion with her pets this weekend.

Story by Elaine Furst for Dog Files

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11 years ago

Its never the breed of the dog….its the owner who’s the problem!!

Valerie Frank Serao
11 years ago

One thing that jumps out at me is that the state of NJ agreed to spare the dogs if they were sent out of state. HUH? Either they are aggressive, and attacked two women and a baby, or they didn’t. How would it solve the issue to send the dogs to NY or CT or AZ or CA or any other state? Will  a change of venue change  the aggressionl?  Either they are adoptable or not. I don’t understand this… 

R. Daniel
R. Daniel
11 years ago

I hope the agreement to send the dogs out of state included a requirement that the dogs be evaluated and rehabilitated.  I have read many cases where a dog who behaves aggressively when handled improperly can be a well behaved animal when handled by an owner with the proper skills.

Steffney Pearce
11 years ago

I understand what you are saying, R.Daniel, but – a lot of dogs who get the taste of blood are really difficult to rehabilitate.  Perhaps the courts should have decided to the obvious in the first place:  Seized this woman’s property and sold ALL of it, to pay her debts, and agreed to try to rehab the dogs!  And then, not allow her to own any more animals, due to her negligence!

Anne Springer
11 years ago

Dogs like this do not behave aggressively because they “get the taste of blood.”  They behave aggressively because the owner failed to understand how to manage and train a guardian breed of dog that has the capacity to protect by using aggression.  Dogs cannot be expected to make decisions on their own about who is friend and who is foe.  You can’t get much more protective than a police K9, yet you seldom see them do any damage to anyone except in the line of duty.  That’s because they are highly trained, and properly supervised.  No one who is unprepared to appropriately socialize, manage, contain, and train, such dogs should have them.  It truly isn’t the breed that’s at fault, it’s an ignorant owner.  I have no problem with allowing the dogs to be sent out of state, provided there is a behavior modification plan in place for them, but I cannot see how NJ could enforce such a thing in another jurisdiction.  They’d be better off, if they elected to let the owner save her dogs, to court order her to have a behaviorist evaluate and make recommendations for a behavior modification treatment plan which she would have to pay for, and complete!


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