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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 32927
Experience:  Numerous criminal trials ranging from traffic to murder, practicing Criminal Law for 20+ years.
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Dear Public Defender, I'm attempting to have my dog Loki

Customer Question

Dear Public Defender,
I'm attempting to have my dog Loki designated an emotional support dog because i suffer from anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. Loki is my family, my companion. Her love and playfulness soothes my bad episodes of anxiety. I love her like a human baby and she and my other dog are really all that i have at seventy-eight years old with many physical problems. I am legally handicapped. It should not be a problem to have her registered as an emotional support dog because I know my two doctors would be happy to back me up with letters confirming my need.
My problem is that Loki, who loves people, children, other dogs, and has never bitten anyone, learned to open the gate latch last November, 2015, got out and killed a goat. The Pagosa Springs prosecuting attorney is adamant that I give up Loki or have her euthanized. At my age, I will have to move out of Colorado. I don't know where I'd go.
My question is, if you can answer it, is if Loki is designated as an emotional support dog, would that end the case against her? I know my anxiety would lessen if I weren't always stressed by the fear of losing her.
Thank you for your time and any effort you make. If there is a fee, just let me know.
Best --
Jean *****
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

First, we're not public defenders although many of us did take our turns at that over the years. You did specify an amount that you would pay to discuss the issue and to receive information but the experts don't have access to that amount.

As to your dog, I can tell you that there is no law specifically on point but I can discuss the arguments your lawyer will have to make and I am familiar with the issue of service dogs.

Subject to what I've mentioned above do you want me to continue?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hello, Dwayne B., only if you can answer the question on whether or not the case against Loki will be closed if she becomes an emotional support dog. This is what I need to know. I know I can get her qualified as an emotional support dog. I don't know if the court and prosecuting attorney will still try to take her away from me or or have her euthanized, as the prosecuting attorney in Pagosa Springs has decided.
Thanks.
Jean ****
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

Her being a service animal does not mean the case will be closed or that the dog will not be euthanized. There is no law that differentiates between service dogs or regular dogs as far as euthanasia in CO.

There are certainly some arguments that could be made although they are more emotional appeals, although you wouldn't characterize them as such, than they are based on the law.

In addition, you would face the additional hurdle that your dog was not a service animal at the time of the attack. This fact may even make the issue of her later being certified as a service animal inadmissible.

There are other defenses available to euthanasia and those should be used and then use the service animal argument as an argument for an additional chance.

I am truly sorry to give you what I am sure is bad news, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and very unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than a completely honest response. However, if your concerns were not satisfactorily addressed, then please let me know, and I will be happy to clarify my answer. Please remember to rate me based upon whether I answered your question, which was "whether or not the case against Loki will be closed if she becomes an emotional support dog" and not upon whether the answer was good news or bad news since I have no control over whether the law is in your favor or not.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** Your answers have been specific. I don't know what to do. The anxiety, the depression and panic attacks will continue. The prosecuting attorney could well destroy me at my age, but I appreciate your honest and professional take on the subject.
I will pay your fee and continue with a heavy heart.
Jean ****
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

You should still consider hiring a lawyer, look for one who does criminal law at www.lawyers.com. There are ways to avoid euthanasia of animals and particularly when there is no evidence of the dog biting a person.

You may also want to see if you can get some animal rights people involved in this but you want to discuss it with the lawyer first. There are a lot of animal rights groups that can cause a stink and maybe get the DA and judge to back off.