It did not take a Travis County judge very long to decide the fate of the six dogs responsible for the death of 36-year old Erin McClesky. He ordered them to be put down.
“The law is pretty clear that dogs should be put down and I really didn't feel their testimony was relevant,” Annalyn Cox, assistant county attorney, said.
The caretaker, property owner and family were there defending themselves. They argued, if Erin McClesky had obeyed the no trespassing sign she would be alive today. McClesky was a process server and was serving paperwork at the time of the incident.
“It is important for owners to know their dogs can still be held liable for their actions even if they occur on their property,” April Moore, supervisor with Austin Animal Protection, said.
The caretaker, shown here leaving the courtroom claimed he would stop by the house on Fay Street in Northeast Travis County to feed the dogs and their 14 puppies. Neighbors and the owner say the dogs never were vicious, but animal protection officers say they had very little human interaction.
“These dogs really needed to be more part of the family and involved in constant interaction with humans,” Moore said.
The caretaker discovered McClesky's body shortly after 9:00 p.m. June 15. Travis County investigators say she had several bite marks and lacerations on her body, and her belongings were scattered, indicating she was trying to run from the dogs. The state says, it's important for them to euthanize the animals now before they kill someone else.
“Once a dog bites it's more likely to bite again in the future,” Cox said.
There are 14 puppies are still on the property, they were not involved in the killing.
The city is working with the owner Terry Swanson, to figure out what's next for them.