By Michigan law, the dogs must be destroyed and Sonnenberg must be compensated for her loss. Sonnenberg claims the pigs were worth $45,000, or about $225 per pound. Another source states that Sonnenberg was offered $9,000 ($45 per pound) and turned it down. These appear to be pretty expensive show pigs.
The first time I read about this insanity I wrote it off as just another filler for the birdcage liner, but then I got to thinking. Pigs are tough customers and have an irascible disposition. They are not anything close to Arnold from Green Acres. If the dogs actually did mix it up with the pigs, why aren't the dogs all torn up? As it turns out, I'm not the only one asking that question. Keep reading to see the latest news.
The two dogs, Nala and Bugger, are sitting in the Monroe County Dog Catcher's jail waiting to be killed. The owners are upset and doing everything they can to save their dogs, and the Bedford Township government doesn't want to hear about it. I note that the owner of the dogs, Janni Juhasz, is an Ohio resident and Stephanie Sonnenberg, the bitch with the pork, is not. I also note that it's likely that the Sylvania Township and Bedford Township governments are not always on good terms with each other.
After perusing a few articles on local news sites, I found the following. Warning: If you follow the North Country Gazette links you get one bite at the apple and that's it. The Gazette has some sort of subscription requirement going on that I don't fully understand.
Credibility Issues Dog Sonnenberg, Michigan Pig Owner By North Country Gazette On March 11, 2014
Sonnenberg’s claim to the insurance company is that in the morning she shut and secured the barn doors, and in the evening when she came back out – the doors were shut and secured.Michigan Dog Case Goes To Appeals
The dogs weigh a total of 90 pounds between the two of them. The pigs totaled over 200 pounds.
A necropsy was never performed. The time or even day of death was never established to validate the claims being made to threaten the lives of the family pet dogs. The responding officer, an animal control officer employed by Monroe County for which Sonnenberg’s attorney, J. Harvey Lievens is a county commissioner and thus the employer of the ACO, could not state as to when the pigs died.
A judge in Monroe County Circuit Court on Tuesday issued a temporary stay of execution for two Sylvania Township dogs that were found guilty of killing pigs. The action allows their owners to take the case to the Michigan Court of Appeals.Expert Casts Doubt On Dogs’ Convictions
A forensic bite specialist says there is not enough evidence to prove that two Sylvania Township dogs accused of killing two show-quality pigs across the state line in Michigan were responsible for the animals’ deaths.Forensic Expert: Nala, Bugger Didn’t Kill Sonnenberg Pigs By North Country Gazette On March 10, 2014
A forensic odontolgist with impeccable credentials says that Nala and Bugger, two dogs on death row in Monroe County for allegedly killing two show hogs, did not render any mortal wounds to the swine owned by Stephanie Sonnenberg as she claims.
While there’s no doubt that the pigs are dead, Dr. Kenneth Cohrn of Lady Lake, Fla., chief forensic odontologist for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for District Five, says the dogs didn’t kill the pigs and has placed his expert opinion in an written report released Monday.
Pig Death Incident Report from Kenneth Cohrn
There are no specific recognizable bite marks that might be attributable to the dogs.
In addition, I see no evidence in the photos or in the report of injuries to the dogs. The pigs would have defended themselves in an attack.
If the pigs were secure in an enclosed environment how did the dogs get in and out of the pen?
There was no necropsy preformed by a veterinarian or a pathologist to determine the cause and manner of death.
Therefore, based on the evidence provided to me, with the cause and manner of death not established by a necropsy or veterinarian,the lack of any identifiable bite marks, unverifiable circumstantial evidence, other possible scenarios, the link between the pig deaths and injuries and the two dogs is problematic.The question becomes now what? Given the evidence it would seem that the dogs should be returned and the owner of the pigs can go file a claim with her own insurance company. This case is being appealed, so we'll see what happens.