A euthanasia order will remain in place for two Winslow dogs that killed another dog and injured its owner.

An effort to have the order overturned on appeal was rejected in a decision issued Tuesday by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

That court heard arguments in the appeal on Oct. 13 during a special session at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

The two animals, pit bulls Bentley and Kole, escaped from their fenced-in backyard and killed Fergie Rose, a 10-month-old Boston terrier on Aug. 30, 2016, in Winslow. The owner of Fergie Rose, Sharron Carey, was injured. A judge in Augusta then found that Danielle Jones, the pit bulls’ owner, had committed two civil violations of keeping a dangerous dog.

Part of the judgment included an order for the dogs to be euthanized within 30 days. That order was stayed pending appeal.

The attack was captured on a surveillance camera that was mounted outside Jones’ home in Winslow. It was shown during the nonjury trial and justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, also known as the Law Court, indicated Oct. 13 that they had viewed it as well.

The justices at that time appeared to adopt the state’s position and said that District Court Judge Eric Walker, who presided at the two-day trial, took a considered, thoughtful approach to the case and his explanation about why he opted for euthanasia for the animals rather than confinement or muzzles. The Law Court’s decision came in the form of a Memorandum of Decision, meaning it has only brief discussion.

In it, the court says that “competent evidence in the record” supports the court’s finding that the dogs seriously injured a person, and that there was no “obvious error.”

Bonnie Martinolich, one of the attorneys representing Danielle Jones, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said in an email Tuesday, “This case is about community safety. It’s about feeling safe to walk the sidewalks of our neighborhoods.”

She also speculated that the decision was issued in this form rather than a longer decision because the court “probably didn’t see any issues they needed to discuss.”

At oral arguments, Kennebec County Assistant District Attorney Tracy DeVoll asked the court to affirm the lower court’s euthanasia order, saying the dogs are too dangerous and the owner cannot control them.

“This case is about protection,” DeVoll said. “It’s about protecting people — men, women, children, babies — and their pets. It’s about protecting them from the defendant’s two dangerous, deadly dogs.”

Part of Walker’s original order granted the state motion for the forfeiture of the dogs.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Andrew Mead noted at the hearing that forfeiting dogs to the state was different from forfeiting a piece of property, such as a boat or motorcycle.

“Dogs are members of the family,” Mead said.

Richard Rosenthal, a Queens, New York-based attorney who calls himself the “dog lawyer” on his website, argued on behalf of Jones. Rosenthal maintained that the dangerous-dog prosecution is quasi-criminal in nature rather than simply civil because it was “brought by police, prosecuted by the district attorney’s office and it deals with a forfeiture.” He said Jones should have had a jury trial at which the state would have been required to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the dogs were dangerous.

He also argued that it was unclear which dog actually inflicted the fatal injuries on Fergie Rose.

At the trial, Carey testified that she believed the two pit bulls would turn on her next after they finished tearing her dog apart. Carey said she had been walking her dog on a leash near the street in front of Jones’ home when the two dogs came at them.

Carey said she was bitten on both her right wrist and on her back.

“They had Fergie on the ground, and she was crying,” she testified. “There was nothing I could do. I was kicking them and screaming, and I was screaming for help and no one came. They were just killing my dog, and there was blood everywhere.”

Fergie Rose died about 10 minutes later at a veterinarian’s office.

Winslow Animal Control Officer Christopher Martinez testified he took the two pit bulls, 3-year-old Kole and Bentley — each with blood on their muzzles — from their owners for quarantine and later filed paperwork to have the animals confined until a court could decide their fate.

After the verdict, Bill Carey, Sharron Carey’s husband said. “It’s all about justice for Fergie,” adding, “No one wants to see dogs put down. That’s horrible.”

Carey has filed a civil lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court against Jones and the dogs’ co-owner Brandon Ross, as well as against Danielle Doyon, of Waterville, owner of the home at 12 Lucille St.

Carey, through attorney Steven Blackwell, said that she suffered injuries to her hands, in particular to her left wrist, when the two dogs dragged her to the ground while tearing Fergie Rose from her arms. Carey seeks compensation for her injuries and damages as well as medical and veterinary expenses.

The claim is brought under state statutes, one of which permits “reimbursement for damage done by animals.”

In a separate case, another dog under a court-ordered death sentence was spared after the attorneys — including Maloney — worked out a deal to have the animal placed at a boarding kennel at a veterinary hospital and have a canine behavior expert brought in as a trainer. The animal, Dakota, killed one dog in Waterville and then months later seriously injured another dog owned by the same family.

The case drew the attention of Gov. Paul LePage, who issued a documented “pardon” to Dakota. It was appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and raised questions about the appropriate punishment for dogs deemed dangerous; however, the settlement, which was approved by a judge, ended that appeal.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams