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Publish Date: 10/29/2005

Motion to suppress evidence denied in dangerous-dog case
Pit bull killed two teacup poodles, according to police


GREELEY — A motion to suppress evidence in a dangerous-dog case was denied Friday morning.

On Jan. 24, Frank Roth’s female pit bull killed two teacup poodles owned by his neighbor, Debby Stevens, at her Weld County home east of Berthoud, according to the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities destroyed the pit bull, and Roth pleaded not guilty in Weld County Court to a Class 3 misdemeanor charge of owning a dangerous dog.

David McCall, Roth’s attorney, said evidence from a sheriff’s deputy should not be included in the trial, partly because the deputy, Robert Dye, did not write a report after the incident; another deputy wrote the report.

Dye told the courtroom Friday that when he arrived at the scene, he approached a group of people who looked like bystanders. Dye said Roth approached him and offered him a tour of the back yard, where his pit bull, Jada, was chained.

“Roth said to me he believed his dog was the one who killed the neighbor’s dogs,” Dye said on the stand.

Dye said Roth explained how sorry he was that it had happened and he knew how important the poodles were to Stevens. Dye said he saw Jada sitting chained to a stake in the yard, not moving or barking.

Dye said Roth showed him his pit bull’s injuries from the attack, three-quarter-inch wounds on her underside and broken toenails.

McCall argued that the deputy directed the interview and that he didn’t advise Roth of his right to remain silent. But Judge Lynn Karowsky struck down the request to exclude Dye’s testimony.

“The investigation was led by Mr. Roth and not the deputy,” Karowsky said. “Direct control was taken by Mr. Roth.”

McCall then argued that Roth did not know he was harboring a dangerous dog, so the statute should not apply to him.

But Karowsky said the statute, while relatively new, still applies in this case.

“The statute talks about owning a dangerous dog and defines a dangerous dog as killing another domesticated animal,” Karowsky said. “Therefore, if you own a dog that has killed a domestic animal, you own a dangerous dog. It doesn’t require having previously owned a dangerous dog.”

In 2000, Roth owned two dogs that killed a chow.

According to Loveland Reporter-Herald archives, he was found guilty of two municipal charges of harboring vicious dogs, as well as a dog-at-large and public-nuisance charge, in Loveland municipal court.

 

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