MUNCIE, Ind. (May 19, 2015) -- City officials decided not to put down two hybrid wolf dogs that escaped and killed another family's pet.
The decision came at an emotional hearing in Muncie City Hall on Tuesday night. Animal Care and Control board members met to discuss whether the dogs were a danger to the public.
"It's incredibly difficult to make (this) decision," Muncie Animal Care and Control Director Phil Peckinpaugh said.
The two hybrid wolf dogs, owned by Delaware County resident Stan Stephens, got out of their enclosure in early May and attacked a jack russell terrier on another family's porch.
That dog owner, Ashley Reed, came home to find the grisly scene outside her back window. Her eight-year-old dog Peyton was already dead.
"As I get closer I see, it has Peyton in its mouth. It was around the neck and the front leg area and it was just shaking him," Reed said.
Stephens has nine dogs on his property and said it was a rusted bottom to a fence that allowed the two to escape. His other dogs were not a part of the hearing since they had not presented any documented issue since he started keeping them in 1988.
"They’re kind of being made out to be these big scary animals. They look just like a husky," Peckinpaugh said.
Still, Peckinpaugh said it has been confirmed that the wolf dogs killed Peyton and are considered 'vicious' under city ordinance.
"I don’t want my animals put down. Whatever standard the board dictates for fencing or anything I need to do will be met," Stephens said.
Ultimately, that's what Peckinpaugh recommended and the board agreed.
"We’re going to require Mr. Stephens to modify his housing of these dogs and how he contains these dogs," board member Dr. Mike Brown said.
Reed said she was okay with the final decision and happy the board was strict in its demands.
"We just want a resolution that we can ... all agree upon, to ensure that this doesn’t happen again," Reed said.
Stephens will have 30 days to put up two eight foot fences that will be electric and have barbed wire on them, among other measures. If the dogs get out again, Brown said the board would likely not be so lenient.