Judges rule dogs blamed in horse attack in northern Michigan can be put to death

Two dogs blamed for an attack on a horse in the northern Lower Peninsula can be put to death, the Michigan Court of Appeals said.

The horse was attacked in a barn in Presque Isle County in 2019. The injuries were so severe that the owner decided to euthanize the horse.

Two American bulldogs ran off while their owner was raking leaves. Hours later, Charles Kendziorski went to his barn and found the dogs covered in blood near his badly injured horse.

"There was no evidence presented that any other animals had been in the barn with the horse," judges Jane Beckering and Mark Boonstra said in a 2-1 opinion last week. "Given this evidence, a reasonable fact-finder could conclude that defendant’s dogs had attacked the horse."

They affirmed a lower court decision to euthanize the dogs.

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In dissent, Judge Amy Ronayne Krause said she wasn’t entirely convinced. She said the dogs might have fought off a wild animal that had attacked the horse.

If the dogs could enter the barn, "then they were not the only animals capable of doing so," Ronayne Krause said.

Killing the dogs would be an "unprincipled and excessive outcome," she said, noting they could instead be confined to their home.