The order to euthanize Bronx, a Rhodesian ridgeback-boxer mix, and Dakota, a pit bull, was allowed to stand, while at the same time Judge J. Cedric Simpson ordered a 21-day stay to give Bater’s attorney, Michelle Radloff, the opportunity for an appeal.
Radloff had filed a motion for a new trial claiming 44-year-old Ellen Mohan, whose 3-year-old dog was killed on Diamond Circle in Northfield Estates July 17, lied on the stand during a trial last month.
“She willfully took out an aggressive dog,” Radloff said, arguing that Mohan herself was the one who provoked the fight.
Radloff provided Simpson with two emails written by Mohan’s coworkers. Radloff argued that the emails suggest Mohan knew her dog Zoey was aggressive and that she had confessed to the coworkers the bites she herself suffered were from Zoey.
“There’s serious credibility issues with her testimony,” she said.
Simpson and Radloff went back and forth for several minutes discussing the various legal nuances and language of the state’s dangerous animal statute.
In the end, Simpson wasn’t buying the argument. He said while Mohan might be able to be impeached as a witness, that wasn’t grounds for retrying the case.
“I don’t have anything before me that shows (Zoey) is aggressive,” he said about the emails.
Simpson said at most he had double hearsay because what was described in the emails from coworkers is what Mohan allegedly told them about Zoey.
Northfield Township’s attorney Brad Maynes called the motion “a novel argument,” but given the way the state statute is written, it didn’t matter which dog instigated the fight.
Simpson agreed and said there wasn’t enough new, valuable evidence to warrant a new trial.
“I don’t have enough here to say that Ms. Mohan used Zoey … to provoke or torment Bronx of Dakota,” Simpson said.
Bater, who appeared upset and shaken in court, still has visitation rights to see Bronx and Dakota at the Humane Society of Huron Valley, where they are being lodged on his dime. Radloff said the bill has risen to $1,500. Simpson said they would explore a way to bring costs down.
Bater and his dad, Douglas Bater, 54, recently pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges related to the case and were forced to pay fines, Radloff said.
The men were also named as defendants in a $1 million lawsuit filed by Mohan and her boyfriend, Don Ashcraft, who was walking Zoey with Mohan on Diamond Circle in the Northfield Township manufactured home community the evening of the incident.
Douglas Bater, who was visiting his son, let the two dogs out of the home. A dogfight ensued that left Zoey dead. Mohan suffered extensive hand injuries trying to intervene. She was in the hospital for several days afterward.
Mohan’s attorney, Ken Essad, has filed a $500,000 lawsuit on behalf of another Northfield Estates resident whose daughter was bitten by one of the same dogs in June. The lawsuit alleges a 5-year-old girl was on a swing set in the residence that backed up to Adam Bater’s when one of the dogs came over and bit her on the thigh.
Essad also confirmed he has threatened to sue Radloff for libel for telling The Ann Arbor News/MLive Mohan perjured herself.
Radloff has 21 days to filed an appeal.