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Huskies get reprieve....

May 28th, 2005, 11:22 AM
From paper yesterday:

Two purebred Siberian huskies accused of killing more than a dozen sheep in Norwich Township received a death row reprieve yesterday from a judge.
The case came to trial in a Woodstock courtroom, but prosecution and defence lawyers hammered out a deal banishing the dogs from Oxford County instead of destroying them.

"No one would want an order putting the dogs down," prosecutor Gordon Lemon said. Justice John Menzies agreed.

The dogs' owner, John Schaafsma, was in court when the judge signed the order.

The decision ends a year-long wait for Schaafsma, who feared his huskies, Fire and Durango, would be destroyed after being linked to a livestock attack. He insists his dogs didn't slay the sheep.

Animal control officers began a search for two huskies in March 2004 after a farmer said a pair of dogs killed four lambs and a sheep. The dogs killed another 11 sheep in a second incident.

Authorities talked to neighbouring farmers who identified Schaafsma's huskies as the culprits. Animal control officials kept the dogs in custody during an investigation.

Norwich Township paid about $2,000 to compensate farmers for the slain livestock.

Ontario's Livestock, Poultry and Honey Bee Protection Act requires the township to pay for livestock killed by a dog. The act also calls for dogs that kill livestock to be destroyed.

Provincial court judges have the authority to order owners to destroy their dogs or order a constable to enter the owner's property to destroy the dog.

Wayne Uncer, an animal control officer, said the dogs should have been destroyed. He said when dogs kill livestock, the chances are high they will do it again.