stuart hughes

stuart hughes

040814 GUS GOES TO DOG WHISPERER

1w ago
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Just minutes before the start of jury selection today in County Court at Law No. 2, the parties agreed to settle a 14 month long case involving a pit bull mix that viciously attacked a young Montgomery County woman. The attack resulted in serious bodily injury. In instances like this, the law allows for the judge (or jury) to decide whether or not the dog should be humanely euthanized. After the incident in 2013 the case went before Montgomery County Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Masden. Judge Masden declared the dog dangerous and ordered it destroyed. The owner and an animal rights group then filed an appeal which moved the case to County Court 2 of Judge Claudia Laird. Due to the way the law was written, the County Court did not have jurisdiction to hear an appeal on the case so Judge Masden's order was put back in force. The case then went to the Court of Appeals in Beaumont and was referred back to Judge Laird's Court to be heard. A jury was about to be picked Tuesday morning when an agreement was reached between the County Attorney's Office and the the Animal Rights Group. The victim said today that due to circumstances she was satisfied with the decision. County Attorney J D Lambright stated that "our office took a very active role in prosecuting this case to protect the citizens of the county from future attacks by this dog and to give peace of mind to the victim. Assistant County Attorney Stuart Hughes, along with Assistant County Attorney Ronald Chin, did an outstanding job in thoroughly preparing this case for trial before a six person jury." According to the terms of the settlement, the animal activist group agreed (among other things) (1) that the pit bull will be officially declared to be a "dangerous dog" pursuant to Texas law; (2) to reimburse Montgomery County $3,000 for the costs of suit and 425 days of housing of the animal; (3) to remove the animal from Texas and ensure that it does not return; (4) to transport the animal to California for rehabilitation with the Cesar Millan foundation (the "Dog Whisperer"); (5) to notify all future owners / handlers of the dog's bite history; and (6) to fully indemnify and hold harmless the County and State from any and all future liability associated with the animal. Lambright further stated that, "this agreement was reached a matter of minutes before the attorneys were to begin the jury selection process. This resolution brings finality and closure to a case which had been pending for over a year, and was entered into with the full cooperation of the victim. We hope that putting this matter to rest, along with avoiding any potential appeals that the animal rights group would likely pursue had the case gone to trial, will allow the victim to continue her physical, mental, and emotional healing from the effects of this vicious attack."