PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld a circuit judge’s finding that two dogs were dangerous and should be euthanized because they caused deadly injuries to another dog. The justices publicly released the unanimous opinion Thursday.
Kassie Jean Brandt and Tyce Bertram Meyer of Onida owned the two black mixed-breed Labradors that previously had been in trouble. On February 6, 2020, the two dogs dug out of their pen and attacked Mark and Fran McQuirk’s corgi-mix house dog on the McQuirks’ property just outside the door of the McQuirks’ home.
The McQuirks eventually drove off the two attacking dogs. Their dog died a few days later, despite treatment by a veterinarian. The two attacking dogs were placed with a Fort Pierre kennel while the city of Onida went to circuit court asking that they be destroyed.
Circuit Judge Bridget Mayer ruled the two attacking dogs couldn’t be euthanized under Onida’s ‘vicious animals’ ordinance because notice hadn’t been given after several previous incidents.
But the judge said the two dogs met the definition of dangerous animals under state law and directed Sully County Sheriff Bill Stahl to dispose of them.
Wrote Chief Justice Steven Jensen, “Admittedly, this case is unique because the sheriff wore two different hats as the city’s code enforcement officer and as the chief law enforcement officer within the county. Despite the circuit court’s conclusion that the city could not proceed to dispose of appellants’ dogs under the ordinance, the circuit court correctly found that this would not prevent the sheriff from proceeding under SDCL 7-12-29.”
The justices said Judge Mayer erred because she didn’t follow part of the state law. “Nonetheless, we conclude the circuit court’s error, in failing to require consultation with the Department of Health as part of its formal determination of dangerousness, was harmless,” the chief justice wrote.