2018-09-06 / Courts

No charges expected in death of dog

No charges are expected in the killing of a dog that law enforcement personnel say had bitten someone earlier in the day it was dispatched.

The dog, a mixed-breed husky, was killed by a Traverse City man and buried on federal property near Little Traverse Lake. The incident has drawn widespread attention on social media.

“It had bit a person earlier that day, so he took it out and disposed of it,” county Sheriff Mike Borkovich said. “People are not allowed to kill an animal for any reason. But if it’s a case of it destroying farm animals or being a danger to other people, the dog may be destroyed.”

A report of the incident was forwarded by the Sheriff’s Office to Leelanau County Prosecutor Joseph T. Hubbell, who determined that charges were not warranted, Borkovich said. The case was also sent to the National Park Service as the dog was buried on land with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The dog’s owner was issued a verbal warning for littering, Borkovich added.

Years ago it would not be considered controversial to kill a dog that had turned against people, Borkovich said.

“If someone had disposed of a dog who bit somene 20-, 30- or 50 years ago, that would not have caused controversy. What if they bite a kid? It’s unbelievable the number of people who actually die from dog bites,” he said.

Leelanau County animal control officer received the dog complaint on Aug. 16. Borkovich said one reason the incident has received so much attention may be that the couple that owned the dog is going through a divorce.

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