If Van Buren Township can find the missing pit bull Dakota, he has a death sentence hanging over his head.
It is unlikely anyone will go looking for the dog, who reportedly is living in rural Washtenaw County.
At Tuesday’s pre-trial exam in 34th District Court, Judge Brian A. Oakley accepted a no-contest plea from Wayne Thomas for harboring a dangerous dog and granted an order to have the dog destroyed if it comes back into the township.
Judge Oakley ordered Thomas to pay cremation costs of $135 for Buddy, the greyhound killed by Dakota, plus other court costs that totaled $383. Judge Oakley wanted the cremation costs paid first and Thomas said he would do that on Monday and set up a payment program for the rest.
He said he has been back to work for two months at Milan Metal, a job arranged through Michigan Works. He said he currently is paying off a traffic ticket he received for having no insurance.
When asked if he wanted to say anything, Thomas said that Dakota was on a leash when he killed Buddy and, “I am sorry about the incident.”
Thomas told the judge he was “doggie sitting” for a few weeks for the owner of the dog, Ronald Murray, Jr., who doesn’t have an address.
Thomas said the original owner lost his trailer and nobody knows where he is. He said he also doesn’t know where Dakota is.
The incident occurred on Oct. 4 at the mobile home park at 600 Sumpter. The case had been to court Dec. 21, when the victim Michelle Korotney and her son Luke were not notified and asked the prosecutor by phone to seek that Dakota be destroyed.
Korotney was told that Thomas was set to plead guilty to the misdemeanor of harboring a dangerous dog, but Judge Oakley delayed the case until Feb. 1 to consider Korotney’s request to destroy Dakota. She said the dog was a danger to people as well as other animals.
On Feb. 1, Thomas pled no contest and the case was settled.
“I’m satisfied with that,” Korotney said after the court adjourned. “That’s the best I could get.”
Prosecutor for Van Buren Township was Adam Levitsky. Van Buren Township Public Safety Director Carl McClanahan also was present at the court session.
He said Animal Control Officer Bob Queener, who was the lead officer on the case, was busy moving the dogs in the VBT dog pound to the Michigan Humane Society in Westland and closing the VBT pound.