Lawyer appeals for dogs sentenced to death

Six dogs were removed from a home on Fay Street on June 15, 2016.

It’s located in Manor near the intersection of Parmer and Yeager Lane. 

The dogs were taken after the body of Erin McCleskey was found in the yard. A week later, Justice of the Peace Herb Evans ordered the dogs to be put down.

Nearly a year and a half later that order hasn’t been carried out because the ruling is being appealed by attorney Eric Torberson. He spoke to FOX 7 Thursday by phone.

"My client, Terry Swanson loves his dogs, and he wants his dogs back," Torberson released this video of the dogs locked up in cages to show what they now look like.

Four are Lab-Pyrenees mixes. Two are Husky-Australian cattle dog mixes. "They have no problems with them, there's no behavior issues, they've never been behavior tested."

Toberson argues there is no way to know which dog is responsible for killing Erin McCleskey.

"Testimony was a pure guess that all of the dogs did it, there’s been no testing, for bite mark analysis, they didn't test stool samples, they didn't test hair around the dogs for blood, there is so much missing, these dogs deserve due process in court before they can be killed, that’s only fair."

A female dog which had given birth died a few months ago. Torberson offered the suggestion that dog may be responsible. "It stands to reason she would have been protecting her puppies."

McCleskey got into the yard despite locked gates and no trespassing signs.

She was a licensed process server and was there to deliver paperwork.

The appeal for the dogs will be heard next month before a jury.

McClesky"s family expressed disappointment that the legal process has taken more than a year. Her parents, Michael and Casimiera Shapiro, sent the following statement to FOX 7.

“We are a family that loves dogs. We have always had dogs. Members of our family have rescues. We are aware that millions of good dogs are killed every year in shelters across the country for want of a loving family.  But these are NOT GOOD DOGS.  These dogs viciously and repeatedly attacked our daughter until they took her precious life. Erin was 36; a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt and a giving friend to all. She was an animal lover too, who rescued several pets herself. When no mercy was shown to our daughter, how can mercy be given to these animals? They took her innocent life yet they continue to live theirs. It’s hard to believe that the dogs are still alive and a constant reminder to us of what they did. We are closely following these events with disbelief, both for the fact that the process is still ongoing and for the amount of time and money being spent on their behalf.”

Around the corner from where the attack happened is the home where Evelyn Diaz and her children are staying. She would not like to see the dogs return to the neighborhood, but also doesn’t want the dogs to die. "Because that’s the thing, we are killing, even though they are animals, technically we are taking their lives away,” said Diaz.

It’s a question a jury will try to answer in November, but the wait may continue.

There is a chance the trail could be delayed.