There are dozens of dogs in Connecticut awaiting their fate. Many are being held in shelters or in dog pounds across the state, and most stem from a dog bite and were ordered to be killed.
However, there are 55 Connecticut dog owners who are appealing that conviction.
Dog owner Kim Miller is one of them. She’s still training her two Rottweiler dogs Kato and Kleo, who have been in doggie prison for longer than anyone ever expected.
“April will be 4-and-a-half years. It’s unspeakable,” Miller said.
Miller sees her fur babies in lock-up as often as she can.
According to experts, this case is one of the longest doggie prison cases Connecticut has seen.
“Never in my wildest imagination would I think it would take this long. No," Miller said.
Eyewitness News has been following Kato and Kleo’s story from day one.
One dog was accused of biting a woman in Hamden after Miller said someone unlocked the fence in her yard.
Witnesses said the dogs were beaten with a bat before the alleged attack. They were both ordered to be put down.
For Miller, it has been a tough few years.
“It's been torture. Pure torture. Those dogs were given to me by my elderly mother; when the dogs were taken away, my mother's health started to fail. And I lost her last year. So now, I don't have my mother nor my dogs. So, I’m heartbroken," Miller said.
Last summer, Eyewitness News went to see the dogs, learning Kato was diagnosed with cancer.
Miller has hired numerous lawyers during this time, filing countless appeals which is why the dogs are still alive.
It's now sitting in federal court.
“I've gone through the full court system. The Department of Agriculture, the Superior Court, the Appellate Court, the Supreme Court didn't take it because there was a case in federal court," Miller said.
Attorney Thom Page represents Miller, along with other dog owners in the same situation, who are fighting to keep their pets alive.
The dogs are ordered to be killed by an animal control officer after they're involved in some sort of incident, like a dog bite.
“I probably represent more dogs on death row in administrative hearings in front of state of Connecticut’s agricultural department than anyone else,” Page said.
He said time isn't always on their side.
“You don't get that hearing from 6 months to a year or more," Page said.
Under law, dogs are considered personal property. Page uses property law to stop kill orders from happening, allowing the dog's owners to get their fair day in court.
“Dogs are property. The government must provide citizens’ rights to when they want to take their property away from them, that's where we fight the law and the laws on dogs and animals in general are nothing like they are if they were to take your, you name it, car, couch, house,” Page said.
While Kato and Kleo are still in limbo, Page has saved other dogs from death row, like Luca who was in lock up for 16 months.
“With my husband and I who cannot have children, they are our children to us so it was devastating at first,” said Jenn Raymond, Luca’s owner.
She and her husband owned Luca for a year-and-a-half, and said he was outside with another dog when the cable he was hooked to broke.
Luca and another dog ran after a jogger. It's still not known which dog bit the jogger, but it was Luca who was set to be killed.
“Knowing that we would never get him back was hard," Raymond said.
Raymond said the courts agreed Luca should be removed from the state, unable to ever return to Connecticut.
He's now in New Jersey with another family, but the time and energy it took to save him, she says was overwhelming.
“It's a very lengthy process, it really needs to be dealt with and come up with a better way to handle these situations," Raymond said.
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