Duke's Story

 

duke-2.jpgThis is the story of Duke, a bulldog that was accused, along with two rottweilers, in the mauling of a four-year-old boy.

 

 

 

Story as reported in Newsday, April 29, 2006

 

BY DENISE M. BONILLA
STAFF WRITER; Staff writer Collin Nash contributed to this report.

April 29, 2006

A 4-year-old boy was hospitalized in guarded condition Friday night after one of his ears was nearly severed in an attack by a rottweiler as he walked with his grandparents in East Meadow, Nassau police said.

The grandfather also was hospitalized with chest pains after the attack just before 2 p.m. on Barkley Avenue.

The grandparents, whom police did not name, were with the boy, who neighbors said is named Matthew, and their 14-month-old granddaughter in a stroller when three dogs - a male and female rottweiler and a bulldog - approached them, said Sgt. John Buckley of Nassau's First Squad.

The dogs were in a nearby enclosed backyard, but apparently pushed open a gate, he said, so no criminal charges have been filed.

The family tried to retreat to the nearby home of the boy's parents, but one of the dogs attacked the boy, Buckley said.

The dogs jumped and bit at the family, knocking them to the ground, then chased them up their driveway, through the back-door vestibule and into the kitchen, he said.

While the grandmother protected the granddaughter, the grandfather tried to hold the boy aloft to avoid the dog's jaws, but one rottweiler named Jasmine tore into him, Buckley said. The dogs eventually retreated from the home on their own, he said.

Next-door neighbor Mitchell Shapiro was in his basement when he heard screaming and ran to his front door. When he opened it, he said he saw a rottweiler standing there.

"Right away, I'm thinking baseball bat or shotgun," he said. He took a baseball bat and tried to shoo the dog away, he said, but it did not move far.

Police showed up and directed what appeared to be pepper spray at the dog, Shapiro said, but the dog still did not move. Only when its owners pulled up in a truck did the dog leave, jumping into the truck with the other rottweiler, he said.

Matthew was admitted to Nassau University Medical Center with large cuts to his forehead, eye and cheek and bites to his torso and buttocks, Buckley said. Both ears were injured, he said, and the boy's right ear was torn down to the lobe.

Matthew was in guarded condition Friday night, said hospital spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg. Matthew's grandfather, who Shapiro said was visiting from Ecuador, was in stable condition, Lotenberg said.

All three dogs were confiscated by the Town of Hempstead animal control.

The dogs' owner, whose name was not released by police, lives at 712 Buchanan Road, Buckley said, around the corner from the attack.

Buckley said one of the rottweilers was cited in January 2004 for killing a neighbor's pet rabbit, but it is not clear yet if the dog was Jasmine. A civil judge had placed restrictions on the dog, Buckley said. The investigation will continue.

 

 


 

Due process in dog cases

BY DENISE FLAIM, Newsday Staff Writer

May 5, 2006

Dog owner Lawrence Kelly had a choice: agree to have his two rottweilers and bulldog euthanized or go through the legal system and let the court decide whether the animals were dangerous.

 

"New York State law affords owners some due process protection," said attorney Beverly M. Poppell of the New York State Bar Association's Special Committee on Animals and the Law. "They have to be allowed before the court for an evidentiary hearing to see if there was any provocation, and the level of evidence must be clear and convincing."

 

The state's "dangerous dog law" gives judges latitude in dealing with a dog found to have attacked without provocation. Beyond mandating permanent confinement or euthanasia, a judge can require an owner to obtain liability insurance, neuter or microchip the dog, or have it complete training recommended by a behavioral expert.

 

State law mandates a 30-day waiting period before a dog is euthanized to allow the owner to file an appeal, unless he or she waives that right.

 

The law also makes an effort to avoid "breedism." "Any determination as to the propensity of a dog to attack cannot be based on breed," Poppell said. "It has to be based on its actions."

 

As for Kelly's decision to permit the dogs to be euthanized, Poppell is not surprised. "The problem is that the owner didn't keep the dog confined. And the dog always pays the price."

 


 

Update 5/9/06: THE JUDGE JUST GRANTED US A STAY KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED! There will be a hearing on Friday 5/12/06


Update: 5/10/06:

THE LAWYERS, Leonard Egert & Amy Trakinski of the firm Egert & Trakinski ARE FRANTICALLY WORKING ON GETTING DUKE AN EVALUATION.

Help is needed for Legal Fees on behalf of Duke the bulldog. Lawyers are in court AS I WRITE THIS trying to obtain a STAY OF EXECUTION for Duke the Bulldog, who just turned 1-year old. Duke and 2 rotties are set to be euthanized at noon, today, May 9.

 

We are asking the courts to allow us to bring in a certified evaluator to test the bulldog. There are too many conflicting stories as to whether or not the bulldog bit anyone. He has not shown any aggression while at the shelter.

 

Appealing to the Supreme Court is not free and we are Desperately asking for your help. Please make a donation today! Mark your donation: Duke Legal Fund

 

 


 

One of Dogs Involved In Mauling of Boy Spared Death Hearing Set

 

POSTED: 8:44 am EDT May 10, 2006

 

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- One of three dogs that officials say attacked a family and injured a 4-year-old boy has been spared death pending a hearing on whether the animal should be put down.

The owner of the dogs, Lawrence Kelly, last week agreed to euthanize the animals under a deal with town officials. While two of the dogs -- both Rottweilers -- were euthanized, a dog rescue group on Tuesday filed papers in state Supreme Court that earned the third animal, a bulldog, at least a temporary reprieve.

The dog will be evaluated, and a hearing scheduled for Friday will determine if the dog should be put down.

Police said the boy, Matthew Henriques, was walking with his grandparents and 14-month-old sister in the Long Island community of East Meadow last month when the dogs approached them.

One of the Rottweilers jumped on and attacked the boy, but the grandfather pried him from the dog's mouth and rushed him inside their house, police said. The dogs gave chase and repeatedly tried to bite the boy and grandfather, police said.

Matthew's ears were torn, and he suffered gashes on his face and bites to his torso and buttocks. He was treated at Nassau University Medical Center.

Kelly, 25, has been charged with one count of violating a state law regarding dangerous dogs, a misdemeanor.

 

© 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



 

Bulldog in maul given reprieve

 

BY RICHARD WEIR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

New York Daily News

http://www.nydailynews.com


Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Hours before he was to be put down, Duke the English bulldog was granted a stay of execution yesterday after a dog rescue group questioned his role in the mauling of a 4-year-old Long Island boy. The two Rottweilers also owned by Duke's master weren't as lucky. The Hempstead Animal Shelter euthanized them as scheduled yesterday, town spokesman Mike Deery said.

A state Supreme Court justice will hear arguments on Friday from a lawyer for Long Island Bulldog Rescue, which obtained yesterday's injunction against killing Duke, and the town, which wants the dog destroyed.

"I would not like to compound the tragedy of what happened to that family by killing an innocent animal," said Laurette Richin, who runs the rescue group.

"I don't think this group understands what this dog did," said lawyer Myles Tintle, who represents victim Matthew Henriques of East Meadow.

The boy's mother, Carina Henriques, is stunned by the legal fight. "She's surprised that anybody would provide these dogs with another opportunity to hurt a child," Tintle said.

The dogs' owner, Lawrence Kelly, 25, agreed in court last week to having all three pets put down, saying he wanted to spare Matthew and his family from having to testify about the April 28 attack.

Matthew was riding a tricycle alongside his grandparents outside his home when the Rottweilers pounced, shredding the boy's cheek and nearly severing his ears.

Initial police reports indicated that Jasmine, an 80-pound female Rottweiler, was the main culprit. But Deery said "all three dogs actively participated in the violent attack."

Richin said she wants to "get all the facts straight" about whether Duke played a role in the rampage.

"We believe the dog deserves to be evaluated," she said. "This type of aggression is not typical of this breed."

 


 

Bulldog’s fate remains a question

 

BY DENISE M. BONILLA
Newsday Staff Writer

May 10, 2006

The two rottweilers involved in a vicious attack on an East Meadow boy last week were euthanized yesterday, officials said, but their bulldog companion was spared -- at least for now.

Long Island Bulldog Rescue of Stony Brook filed a petition with Judge Arthur Diamond in State Supreme Court yesterday morning, just hours before Duke, the 1-year-old bulldog, would have been euthanized. The dog will be evaluated and a hearing with Judge Kenneth Davis on Friday will determine if the dog should be put down.

"Bulldogs are not known for being aggressive," said Sue Jacobsen, director of the group. "They're big couch potatoes."

Jacobsen said the group would like to have Jeff Kolbjornsen, president of Elite Animal Trainers Inc., of Islip Terrace, evaluate the dog's temperament.

Matthew Henriques, 4, was attacked April 28 by the three dogs as he walked with his grandparents and 14-month-old sister in front of his house on Barkley Avenue. The dogs chased the boy and his grandfather into the house. Matthew, whose ear was nearly torn off in the assault, needed 250 stitches in his cheek, ears, torso and legs. He was released from the hospital on Friday.

Duke may have gotten a temporary reprieve, but the two rottweilers were euthanized last night by a veterinarian at the town's animal control unit, said Town of Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery. The owner of the dogs, Lawrence Kelly, 25, agreed Thursday to have the three dogs euthanized.

Kolbjornsen said he had wanted to get a stay for all of the dogs and had informed the town that he would be putting in an application for the rottweilers today, and was assured by deputy town attorney Brad Regenbogen that the dogs would not be euthanized for 24 hours. Through Deery, Regenbogen denied ever making such an assurance.

"We fail to understand that dogs are technically wild animals," Kolbjornsen said. "It is the owner's responsibility to know what kind of dog they have and what kind of training they need."

Jacobsen said the temperament tests Duke will go through will determine if he is aggressive. "We would hate to see him put down if he was just out running with the other dogs," Jacobsen said.

If the judge determines that the dog should not be put down, Jacobsen said she would like to see Duke moved to another home out of state to lessen any trauma to Matthew and his family. "We wouldn't want the family to ever see the dog again," she said.

The Henriques' attorney, Giancarlo Terilli, of the Manhattan law firm Terilli & Tintle, said the family was upset to learn that a third party was trying to get stays for the dogs. He said Matthew's mother, Carina, testified that all three dogs were involved in the attack and that the bulldog bit Matthew's legs as she lifted him up to save him from one of the rottweilers.

Terilli said he doubts the bulldog's life will be spared. "All they did was buy him a couple more days," he said.

 

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.




UPDATE 5/11/06:

Tomorrow there is a hearing at Supreme Court. Long Island Bulldog Rescue is trying to get the approval for a hearing and evaluation for Duke, the Bulldog. As it stands, because Duke is considered “property” we do not have the right to go to court to save him. We are trying to change that.

If anyone would like to help could you please email or call the town supervisor again, Kate Murray and ask that she forwards all emails to the Town Attorney. We do not have his email address. You can also put that they do not need to call you back as we don’t want to be a burden. We would just like them to know how we feel.

Please understand that we in no way mean to disregard the family’s pain. I can’t imagine what Matthew and his family must be feeling. Our hearts and thoughts are always with them.

Kate Murray Town Supervisor
Hempstead Town Hall
One Washington Street
Hempstead, NY 11550
(516) 489-5000

Website to send email through:
http://www.townofhempstead.org/content/home/contact.html#helplineform

 


 

5/12/06 UPDATE: Court Day for Duke

 

Well of course the hearing didn’t start on time. The judge heard from both our lawyers and the town’s attorney. This hearing was to determine if LI Bulldog Rescue has a standing to act on behalf of Duke.

 

After listening to both sides the judge is going to review everything and make his decision on Wednesday.

 

His decision will determine if we are legally able to pursue this case further so that hopefully Duke can be evaluated and if deemed non-aggressive, re-homed.

 

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.
Sue Jacobsen
Long Island Bulldog Rescue

 


 

 

Bulldog gets a little more time from judge

 

BY CARL MACGOWAN
Newsday Staff Writer

May 12, 2006, 11:25 AM EDT

Duke, the bulldog involved in the mauling of a 4-year-old boy in East Meadow last month, was given a five-day stay of execution at a hearing this morning at State Supreme Court in Garden City.

State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Davis reserved judgement until Wednesday on a motion by Long Island Bulldog Rescue of Stony Brook to take custody of the dog. The rescue organization wants to test the dog's temperament and possibly put him up for adoption.

The April 28 attack on Matthew Henriques by two rottweilers and the bulldog left him with 250 stitches in his cheek, ears, torso and legs. The dogs' owner, Lawrence Kelly, 25, of East Meadow, released the dogs to the Town of Hempstead and agreed to let the town euthanize the animals. The two rottweilers were put down Tuesday night at the town's animal control unit.

Davis said he likely would issue a decision on Wednesday on whether to award custody of Duke to Long Island Bulldog Rescue of Stony Brook.

Neither Duke, Kelly or the Henriques family were in attendance at the hearing.

 


 

Mauling dogs' owner in plea

 

BY BRANDON BAIN
Newsday Staff Writer

May 16, 2006

The owner of the three dogs that mauled a 4-year-old boy in East Meadow late last month entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment yesterday in District Court in Hempstead.

Lawrence Kelly, whose two rottweilers and a bulldog attacked Matthew Henriques and his grandparents April 28 as they walked near their home on Barkley Avenue, appeared yesterday before Judge Randy Sue Marber.

"We are confident that he was not negligent and that this was an unfortunate accident," said Kelly's lawyer, Kim Lerner.

Kelly, 25, was arrested following the attack.

At the arraignment his bail was continued on the condition that he not harbor or maintain any animals throughout the case. He is due back in court June 5.

Lerner said she plans to show that Kelly took steps to prevent the dogs' escape, including photos of a gate that had been repaired and window screens that were replaced at his home. She said Kelly had ordered an electric fence that arrived on the day of the incident.

"The dogs have never shown any propensity to be violent with any human being ever," Lerner said.

Previously, the Town of Hempstead had issued six summonses to Kelly - three for leaving each of the dogs unleashed, and three for keeping dogs without a license.

 


 

UPDATE: 5/17/06

 

The Judge ruled Against Us

 

But he did Grant us a Stay of Execution until May 23, 2006 to allow us time to proceed with an appeal and further stay.

 

I haven’t read the court papers yet but from what I understand the judge said we do not have a legal standing to interfere. The only person who has that right is the owner. The decision is supposed to be on the web. It is from the Supreme Court Nassau County, index #7478-06. I was unable to locate it anywhere. Maybe it just isn’t posted yet.

 

As I said, he did give us another stay until May 23 to file an appeal. We now have to see if we can financially go forward with an appeal. Hopefully by some miracle we will find the funds to do so.

 

Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers and donation. I will keep you updated. Thanks, Sue

 


 

 

Bulldog gets another reprieve

 

BY CARL MACGOWAN
Newsday Staff Writer

May 17, 2006, 10:20 AM EDT

A judge ruled this morning that a bulldog involved in the mauling last month of a 4-year-old East Meadow boy can be euthanized by the Town of Hempstead.

State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Davis ruled against a Stony Brook bulldog rescue group which wanted to take custody of Duke, a 1-year-old bulldog, and save him from certain euthanization. However, the judge stayed the execution until Tuesday to allow the group to file an appeal.

Davis ruled that Long Island Bulldog rescue does not have legal standing to claim custody of the dog, one of three dogs that mauled Matthew Henriques on April 28. The boy received 250 stitches.

 


 

Bulldog Gets Weeklong Reprieve While Death Sentence Is Appealed

 

POSTED: 11:48 am EDT May 17, 2006

 

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- A state judge ruled Wednesday that a bulldog that mauled a 4-year-old Long island boy last month should be put to death, but the judge delayed the execution to give an animal rights group time to appeal.

The bulldog is being held at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter.

State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Davis ruled Wednesday morning against a Stony Brook bulldog rescue group, which wanted to take custody of Duke. The 1-year-old bulldog was with two Rottweilers that attacked Matthew Henriques on April 28. The boy received 250 stitches. The two Rottweilers have been put to death.

Davis ruled that Long Island Bulldog Rescue does not have legal standing to claim custody of the dog.

Police said Henriques was walking with his grandparents and 14-month-old sister in East Meadow last month when the dogs approached them.

One of the Rottweilers jumped on and attacked the boy, but the grandfather pried him from the dog's mouth and rushed him inside their house. Police said the dogs gave chase and repeatedly tried to bite the boy and grandfather.

Matthew's ears were torn, and he suffered gashes on his face and bites to his torso and buttocks. He was treated at Nassau University Medical Center.

 

© 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

 


 

Bulldog's fate looking bleak

 

BY CARL MACGOWAN
Newsday Staff Writer

May 18, 2006

Duke, the bulldog involved in the mauling last month of a 4-year-old East Meadow boy, faces near-certain death as early as Tuesday after a judge ruled against the group that wants to save him.

State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Davis said Wednesday that Stony Brook-based Long Island Bulldog Rescue lacked legal standing to take custody of the 1-year-old dog. The decision, in effect, allows the Town of Hempstead to euthanize Duke, but the judge stayed execution until Tuesday, allowing the group time for an appeal.

Duke and two rottweilers were involved in the April 28 attack on Matthew Henriques. The boy received 250 stitches to repair his cheek, ear, torso and legs. Davis said the town acted legally when it decided to comply with the request of the dogs' owner, Lawrence Kelly of East Meadow, to euthanize the animals. The rottweilers were killed on May 9, but the rescue group's petition spared Duke, at least temporarily.

However, the group failed to prove its claim that the dog was not involved in the attack, the judge said. "While the motives of the petitioner are commendable, this court is bound to rule on the law and without personal feelings," he wrote.

The group's executive director, Laurette Richin, vowed to appeal, saying she believes Duke was a bystander while the rottweilers attacked Matthew. "This is a dog that tagged along with a couple of rotties," Richin said. "I don't believe in putting an animal that is innocent to death."

Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery said the judge's decision supported the town's actions.

But the rescue group's attorney, Amy Trakinski, said she believes state law requires a review of the town's handling of the case.

Attorney Giancarlo Terilli of Manhattan, who represents the Henriques family, said the family was pleased with the decision. "Obviously, this is what they wanted, and they're hoping that they and their neighbors won't have to deal with this dog," he said. Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

Correction from LI Bulldog Rescue: Please refer to above highlighted section. The judge DID NOT say that we failed to prove our claim that Duke was not involved in attack. We haven't every been given the chance to discuss that matter. Right now we are just trying to establish a standing so that we THEN have the right to prove that Duke was not involved. He said he could not find a Standing to grant us the authority to bring this case to court.

 


 

Donate to Duke's Legal Fund

Donations are desperately needed to help Long Island Bulldog Rescue defray the cost of legal expenses for Duke. Mark donations "Duke Legal Fund." Please help.

 

To donate by credit card: Go to http://www.lingislandbulldogrescue.org. Click on the PayPal donate box underneath the photos. Please indicate "Duke Legal Fund" in the "Payment For" box.

 

To donate by check: Checks may be made payable to "LI Bulldog Rescue", please mark "Duke Legal Fund" on the memo line.

 


 

It's a Dogfight to Save Duke—groups say pooch isn't a mauler

 

Originally published on May 23, 2006

BY RICHARD WEIR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

The Nassau County SPCA has joined the effort to spare the life of Duke, the English bulldog who allegedly joined two Rottweilers in mauling a 4-year-old boy last month.

"The dog is a sweetheart. I've seen him," SPCA investigator Bob Sowers said yesterday shortly before serving papers to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter barring it from proceeding with the dog's scheduled euthanization.

The latest deadline for Duke's demise was midnight last night, when a stay of execution granted last Tuesday by a judge was set to expire.

But yesterday, lawyers for Long Island Bulldog Rescue, which has gone to court to try to save the dog, got a state Appeals Court judge to extend the stay until May 31.

"I think there has been a rush by the Town of Hempstead to put this dog down without any kind of hearing or evaluation," said Len Egert, the group's lawyer.

Egert said the canine group has received offers from several out-of-state dog lovers - one as far away as Alaska - who want to adopt Duke.

Town officials, meanwhile, vowed to keep up the legal battle to have Duke destroyed.

"The fact is that this bulldog savaged a young child," said Town spokesman Mike Deery. "By sending the dog to another part of the country would only be exporting our problem and putting other people at risk."

Duke's date with Death Row was originally scheduled for May 9 - the same day the two Rottweilers were put down - after its owner, Lawrence Kelly, 25, agreed in court to let the town destroy his three pets.

The town contends that, based on eyewitness accounts, all three dogs participated in knocking little Matthew Henriques off his tricycle on April 28 in East Meadow and shredding his face and ears.

But the English bulldog group argued in court that such acts of aggression are not typical of the breed.

State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Davis ruled last Tuesday that the group failed to prove its claim that Duke was merely an innocent bystander to the attack, but he granted the dog another week to live in case it sought to appeal his finding, which it did.

"The dog deserves to be temperament tested," explained Laurette Richin, head of the rescue group.

 


 

Does Duke deserve to die?

 

BY DENISE FLAIM
Newsday Staff Writer

May 22, 2006

When I first heard about last month's mauling of 4-year-old Matthew Henriques of East Meadow -- who received 250 stitches to his face, torso and legs after he encountered two roaming Rottweilers and an English bulldog -- I had two gut reactions.

One: The Rotties, which from all accounts inflicted the serious damage, all but severing the boy's ear, should get the needle.

And two: The bulldog was probably an innocent bystander.

On the first point, justice has already been served: The Rottweilers, Jasmine and Bishop, were euthanized on May 9 with the reluctant consent of their owner, Lawrence Kelly, who let them roam to begin with. Jasmine was deemed a dangerous dog two years ago when she killed a neighbor's rabbit. And Matthew's torn ear is a Rottie calling card. "For some reason, that breed tends to go for the ears," says veterinary behaviorist Katherine Houpt, head of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca.

On the the second point, I realize that having sympathy for any four-leggers involved in this incident is probably not politically correct. And, having three small children of my own, I am sensitive to the feelings of Matthew's parents, who are unequivocal in wanting Duke the bulldog to meet the same fate as the Rotties. Matthew's mother, Carina Henriques, has said that the bulldog was biting at her son's legs while she was trying to extract him from the fracas, but it is not clear if the 1-year-old dog actually bit the boy, or was just excitedly nipping in all the commotion, as puppies do.

At the request of Long Island Bulldog Rescue, the court has stayed Duke's execution more than once. Last week State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Davis found that the Stony Brook-based rescue group did not have the legal standing to take custody of Duke, but he stayed execution until tomorrow to allow time for an appeal.

For the record, I am not a "breedist." I don't believe in banning certain breeds because of their reputations. But in Duke's case, the fact that he is a bulldog speaks to how unlikely it is that he contributed significantly, if at all, to the April 28 attack.

Unless you're dog-savvy, differentiating "bully" breeds can be confusing. All Staffordshire terriers are pit bulls, for example, but not all pit bulls are Staffies. And there is a world of difference between an American bulldog, which can look like a boxer-ish pit, and an English bulldog like Duke -- what in American Kennel Club parlance is simply the bulldog -- the pear-shaped clown with the rolling gait.

Bulldogs are so named because they were originally bred in England for the blood sport of bull-baiting, which required them to latch on to a bull's nose in an attempt to suffocate him -- unless they were trampled first. (The sport's origins may have been the belief among butchers that the struggle rendered the meat more tender and flavorful.)

When bull-baiting was outlawed in 1835, the lean, long-legged Old English bulldog disappeared as well. Replacing this fierce bullfighter was the roly-poly bulldog we know today. He retained the jutting jaw of his predecessor, but evolved a squatter silhouette and a docile temperament.

Bred for physical extremes like a compact body and smushed muzzle, the modern bulldog has more in common with a bowling ball than he does his bull-baiting forebearer of three centuries ago. His brachycephalic, or pushed-in face restricts air flow and can make breathing difficult, especially in warm weather. Most bulldogs cannot breed without human intervention, nor can they deliver their big-headed puppies without Caesarian sections.

These popular university mascots are the walking definition of "phlegmatic," exaggerated dogs whose affability belies their original purpose. Bred for centuries for companionship, they are the classic canine couch potato.

Are there aggressive bulldogs? Sure, just as there are aggressive Chinese cresteds. But bulldogs are hardly known for inherent aggression, much less the kind predicated on a pack-fueled prey drive. When was the last time you heard of an English bulldog involved in a mauling incident?

Not to mention the physical reality: This is a breed that gets winded just exerting itself after a few minutes. Duke likely had a hard enough time keeping up with his Rottweiler buddies, much less joining them in the assault.

An exuberant puppy, Duke was likely in the wrong place at the wrong time, guilty by association. Yet he could be euthanized as early as tomorrow unless the rescue group appeals, which it plans to.

At the very least, Duke should be evaluated by a certified animal behaviorist. If he shows the least amount of aggression, human directed or otherwise, he should be euthanized. If not, Long Island Bulldog Rescue has 20 homes that would take him tomorrow, one as far afield as Anchorage, Alaska, if only Matthew's family would change their minds.

The first trait that comes to mind at the mention of English bulldogs is their penchant for snoring, not aggression. Before Duke pays the price for the company he kept, a professional should weigh in on whether he is the relatively rare exception to that rule.

 

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

 


Demonstration in Front of Hempstead Town Hall
May 31 at 6PM

 

One Washington Street
Hempstead, NY 11550
(516) 489-5000

 

THE TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD WANTS TO KILL DUKE, THE 1 YR OLD ENGLISH BULLDOG PUPPY

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

Who is Duke?

A one-year old neutered English Bulldog Puppy.

 

Why will he be killed?

Duke is alleged to have participated in an attack on a 4 yr old child by 2 Rottweilers when they escaped from their home. The Rottweilers have been put down. Duke has shown no aggression during his confinement, and has no history of prior aggression. He has been described as a typical gentle couch potato.

Why do the Nassau SPCA, Long Island Bulldog Rescue, and thousands of Long Islanders – including many people from Nassau County and Hempstead, in particular –and people from around the world want to stop Duke’s execution?
It is not clear that Duke bit. Bulldogs are “calm, gentle dogs that get along with everyone. They are patient and loving with children. They are not property protectors.” (ASPCA, 1999, p. 136.)

Long Island Bulldog Rescue (LIBR) and Nassau SPCA want justice for Duke, too. They have asked that an unbiased, expert dog temperament evaluator test Duke AT NO COST TO THE TOWN OR COUNTY to see if he has the temperament to live a safe, happy life. If so, Nassau SPCA and LIBR assures he would be placed out of New York State, AT NO COST TO THE TOWN OR COUNTY.

Who should care?
Every person who:

  • Owns a pet in Hempstead or Nassau co., or anywhere else. Could your pet be next if your neighbor accuses him or her?
  • Lives in Nassau Co., or Hempstead, or anywhere else. Could you be next if your neighbor accuses you?
  • Believes that our country, county, and town are strong because we are compassionate and fair, not because we are cruel and unfair.
  • Knows that the Town of Hempstead has been a progressive precedent-setting leader in many areas and wants that tradition to go forward.


Why does Duke’s life or death matter to every Hempstead and Nassau County resident of all towns everywhere?
Duke could have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Nassau County and Hempstead, should be the right place at every time, so all residents are safe from being punished for something they didn’t do.

A society is judged by the way it handles those least able to take care of themselves. Duke was turned over to the Town of Hempstead to be euthanized by his owner. Hempstead and Nassau residents don’t blame or punish babies and puppies for the actions of adults.

They do have the discretion to allow LI Bulldog Rescue or NCSPCA's Bob Sowers to advocate for Duke. Shelters do it every day, even for dogs known to have bitten.

Why is the Town of Hempstead spending so much of the taxpayers money on putting this puppy to death?
Dogs have a long tradition of saving and protecting human life.

 


 

Save Duke the Bulldog

 

Town of Hempstead May 31, 2006

 

saveDuke.jpg

 


 

dukeall-2.jpg

 

dukeall-1.jpg


 



Stay Extended Pending Judge's Decision June 1, 2006

 


 

Duke's friends lost again

 

BY CARL MACGOWAN
Newsday Staff Writer

June 1, 2006, 1:42 PM EDT

For the second time in three weeks, a State Supreme Court justice today ruled against Stony Brook-based Long Island Bulldog Rescue, which wants to take custody of the dog accused of mauling a 4-year-old East Meadow boy. The year-old bulldog is being held at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, where he awaits possible execution.

Duke's fate is in the hands of the state Appellate Division, which is considering an appeal filed by the rescue group. The town is prohibited from killing the dog until the appeal is heard.

Last night, about 20 Duke supporters demonstrated at Hempstead Town Hall, calling for the dog's release. The rescue group wants to evaluate Duke and possibly put him up for adoption.

Matthew Henriquez was attacked on April 28 while walking with his grandparents and younger sister. Two rottweilers involved in the attack were put down on May 9. The rescue group says there is no evidence Duke participated in the mauling.

 

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

 


 

UPDATE 6/1/06: Supreme Court Decision

 

Supreme Court Judge Davis ruled against us. We are awaiting the Appellate Court’s ruling on the Stay of Execution.

We still need to keep contacting the Town of Hempstead asking for If he is deemed adoptable LIBR will place him in a secure, responsible, loving and experienced Bulldog home out of state.

Email addresses and phone/fax numbers are listed below.
Thank you!

 


 

URGENT PLEA FOR HELP

DEMONSTRATION IN FRONT OF HEMPSTEAD TOWN HALL, TUES. JUNE 6 AT 6:30PM

Town Board meetings are held in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion, adjacent to Hempstead Town Hall, One Washington Street, Hempstead.

 


 

UPDATE 6/06/06: APPELLATE COURT RULES: Stay extended until July 7!

 


 

UPDATE 6/7/06: DUKE UPDATE: Where we stand now

THE APPELLATE DIVISION GAVE US A STAY UNTIL JULY 7.

UPDATE 6/7/06: Duke's Owner steps forward and reverses stance!

 

LAWRENCE KELLY RESCINDED HIS ORDER TO EUTHANISE DUKE.

THERE WILL BE A "DANGEROUS DOG" HEARING.

 

WE ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT DUKE'S EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL WELL BEING AND ARE ATTEMPTING TO NEGOTIATE HAVING SOMEONE WALK AND SPEND SOME TIME WITH HIM. HE HAS BEEN IN ISOLATION, AND HAS NOT HAD A WALK FOR 5 WEEKS.


UPDATE 6/7/06: Great News!


Laurette just got off the phone with the SPCA investigator, Bob Sowers...he will be allowed to visit Duke every day, for walks and play! Kate Murray, Hempstead town Supervisor said it was ok...lets thank her. Please send her an email thanking her.


Big thanks to SPCA investigator Bob Sowers, and Jeff Kolbjornsen from Elite Animal Trainers. Their sincerity and experience were a major part in making this happen.

 


 

 

Bulldog's owner reverses stance

 

BY CARL MACGOWAN
Newsday Staff Writer

June 7, 2006

Every dog has his day, and yesterday Duke had his.

In a surprising turn of events, the owner of the English bulldog accused of mauling 4-year-old Matthew Henriques of East Meadow rescinded his decision to allow the dog to be killed. The Town of Hempstead, which had intended to euthanize Duke, will instead request a hearing to determine whether the dog lives.

In a notarized letter dated Monday and addressed "To whom it may concern," Lawrence Kelly of East Meadow said he turned Duke over to the town because he couldn't afford to have the dog examined and didn't want to put the Henriques family "through any more suffering.

"Since the day I picked Duke up from the pet store, he has been nothing but a loving and affectionate dog," Kelly wrote. "He has given me, my family and my friends no reason to believe that he was a danger to us or anyone around him. ... I believe Duke deserves a fair chance to live."

Last month, Hempstead officials canceled a dangerous-dog hearing when Kelly allowed the town to put down three dogs allegedly involved in the April 28 attack. Kelly's two rottweilers were euthanized May 9, but Duke's life was spared when a Stony Brook rescue group petitioned to save him.

Town of Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery said yesterday the town would comply with Kelly's decision to give the dog another chance. "His consent was the basis upon which the dog was going to be euthanized," he said. "The town is going to file another dangerous-dog hearing. The dog will have his day in court."

The hearing will be held in Nassau County District Court. Deery said a date has not been set.

Matthew is recovering at home from injuries to his legs, torso, cheek and ear. An attorney for his parents did not return calls seeking comment.

Laurette Richin, executive director of Long Island Bulldog Rescue, which sued to keep the town from euthanizing Duke, said Kelly's letter came as a surprise.

"The letter is touching," she said. "I think he's brave and loved his dog. ... I think it took a lot of courage for him to come out like that."

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

 


 

UPDATE: 6/13/06 GREAT NEWS

 

We are in the process of negotiating with the Town of Hempstead, the Attorney for the Henriques family, and Mr. Lawrence Kelly to have Duke relocated into a training program where he will be evaluated and trained accordingly.Then, if appropriate adopted to a secure household with no children.

 


 

 

Bulldog in mauling case won't be euthanized

 

BY CARL MACGOWAN
Newsday Staff Writer

June 13, 2006, 3:21 PM EDT

Duke, the year-old English bulldog accused of mauling a 4-year-old East Meadow boy two months ago, will be retrained and possibly put up for adoption, under terms of a settlement being discussed by Town of Hempstead officials and the dog's defenders.

The dog faced almost certain death by euthanasia soon after the April 28 attack that left Matthew Henriques with 250 stitches. But after weeks of court appearances, lawyers for the Town of Hempstead, the Henriques family and a Stony Brook dog rescue group today discussed an out-of-court settlement that would save Duke's life.

The proposed settlement stipulates that Duke must not be adopted by a family with children.

If the parties agree to the deal, Duke will be examined and trained by Elite Animal Trainers of Islip Terrace.

A dangerous-dog hearing scheduled for today at Nassau County District Court in Hempstead was avoided when lawyers for the town, the family and Long Island Bulldog Rescue worked out terms of the settlement in the hallway. Judge Valerie Bullard adjourned the case until June 29.

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

 


 

Duke the bulldog may get training

 

BY CARL MACGOWAN
Newsday Staff Writer

June 14, 2006

Duke, the year-old English bulldog involved in mauling a 4-year-old East Meadow boy in April, will be retrained and possibly put up for adoption, under terms of a settlement being discussed by Town of Hempstead officials and the dog's defenders.

The dog faced death by euthanasia soon after the attack that left Matthew Henriques with 250 stitches. But after weeks of court appearances, lawyers for the Town of Hempstead, the Henriques family and a Stony Brook dog rescue group discussed an out-of-court settlement yesterday that would save Duke's life.

The proposed settlement stipulates that Duke must not be adopted by a family with children. Matthew's parents, Carina and Luis Henriques, have agreed to the deal in principle, said their attorney, Glen Faber.

"Mrs. Henriques' primary interest is protecting children from this dog," Faber said.

If the parties agree, Duke will be examined and trained by Elite Animal Trainers of Islip Terrace. Company president Jeff Kolbjornsen said Duke could be put up for adoption if he is successfully trained.

Duke was one of three dogs involved in the April 28 attack. The other two dogs, both rottweilers, were euthanized May 9 after the dogs' owner, Lawrence Kelly, consented.

A dangerous-dog hearing scheduled for yesterday at Nassau District Court in Hempstead was avoided while lawyers worked out settlement terms. Judge Valerie Bullard adjourned the case until June 29.

Len Egert, an attorney for the rescue group, told the judge that Kelly intends to sign over ownership of Duke to the rescue group.

"I think Duke was a great dog," Kelly said outside court. "I'm just happy to see that everybody is on board with this and that the Henriques kid won't have to deal with him."

Kelly said he graduated recently from Hofstra University and is working as a lifeguard in New Jersey.

"I'm sympathetic to the whole situation," he said. "I'm willing to be there for whatever the boy needs."

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

 


 

UPDATE: 6/28/06
Keep your fingers and toes crossed, we are heading back to court tomorrow, Thursday 6/29/06.

 


 

DUKE IS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

He is in the process of being picked-up and taken to Elite Animal Trainers for his evaluation and training, if needed.


Thanks Jeff :) Thanks Bob :) Thanks Len & Amy :)

 

Thanks to ALL OF YOU for ALL your help and good wishes!

 

More News and pics to follow as soon as I get it!

Sue

 

 



Bullish future for Duke after deal

 

BY CARL MACGOWAN
Newsday Staff Writer

June 30, 2006

Duke, the English bulldog accused of mauling an East Meadow boy, was on his way to a dog-training facility yesterday after an agreement was reached to save his life.

The parents of 4-year-old Matthew Henriques, Duke's owner, Lawrence Kelly, and Long Island Bulldog Rescue completed the agreement yesterday after two weeks of negotiations. The deal headed off a dangerous-dog hearing in Nassau District Court, which could have led to an order to euthanize the 1-year-old dog.

"The matter was settled to avoid the trauma of involving Matthew and his mom in a legal proceeding," said Glen Faber of Woodbury, an attorney for the Henriques family.

Duke was immediately picked up from the Town of Hempstead animal shelter by Laurette Richin, executive director of the Stony Brook-based rescue group, and taken to Elite Animal Trainers of Islip Terrace. Duke will be evaluated and retrained and, if he is deemed safe, put up for adoption.

Under terms of the agreement, Duke must be adopted outside New York and cannot have any contact with children. If trainers decide he is unadoptable, Duke will remain at Elite Animal Trainers.

The agreement appears to end a saga that began April 28, when Matthew was mauled while taking a walk with his grandparents and younger sister. Two rottweilers involved in the attack were euthanized May 9. Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

 


 

dukecollage3-2.jpg

 

dukeupdatecollage-2.jpg

 


 

Duke's Update 4/12/2008

 

dukeupdate1-2.jpg

 

 

 

duke-2.jpg

 

 

hifromduke-2.jpg