Family continues fight to save dog
It has been a long fight for the Kollenburns, of Molalla, owners of dog Lladk, whose euthanasia date has been set and extended repeatedly. But they are not giving up on protecting their service dog and beloved family pet.
The latest euthanasia date was set for after 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, but that has been postponed to after 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23, so that a circuit court judge can hear a final appeal next week.
After Lladk bit Lanea and Caleb Kollenburn's toddler son in July in what the family calls a "freak accident," the county decided to put Lladk down through euthanasia.
However, the family, who feels no threat of harm from Lladk, has fought against that ruling with help from animal rights advocate Gail O'Connell-Babcock and maritime attorney Robert Babcock, who offered his services pro bono. They have appealed before the court, asked the county commissioners to step in and more — all without success.
Then, just a few days before Lladk's previously scheduled euthanasia, Babcock on Dec. 3 submitted a motion to set aside the original ruling, which came from attorney and hearings officer Joe Turner.
On Tuesday, Dec. 15, that motion was denied, once again setting the clock in motion for Lladk's death. Lladk would have just three days, to be exact.
"I do not believe that the judge will reconsider," Babcock said.
But the family did not stop there. They also enlisted the help of animal law attorney Adam Karp. He submitted a request for accommodations based on Lladk's status as a service dog to the Kollenburns, who suffer from depression and anxiety. He questioned the constitutionality of putting Lladk down based on the Fair Housing Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Oregon Law Against Discrimination.
This request was partially denied, but County Attorney Scott Ciecko asked questions and expressed interest in working with Karp and the family, according to Lanea. Karp responded with a modified request and answers to the questions.
Furthermore, Babcock has submitted what he called a "last-ditch stay of execution motion."
With all of that, euthanasia was postponed, and the judge is expected to make a final decision next week.
"It's not completely lost yet, but it's just not looking favorable," Lanea said.
Lanea expressed that the ordeal they have gone through trying to save Lladk, and especially the recent denials, have stressed her so intensely that she is experiencing physical symptoms.
"It broke my heart, and it kind of put me in a deeper state of depression," Lanea said. "It put me through so much stress that I had a miscarriage, and now I'm having to deal with that on top of all this. It crushes me."
Lanea also expressed some concern that perhaps Clackamas County Dog Services already had put Lladk down without revealing so. However, Ciecko confirmed Wednesday, Dec. 16, that Lladk was still alive and that the county would comply with any potential court orders directing it not to euthanize.
"He was a sweet dog, and he's only 4. So, it's just terrible that they don't see anything that they can do for him when there's so many options," Lanea said.
Several rescue facilities have offered to take in Lladk, but instead, the county continues to affirm the original ruling to euthanize. One Alaskan Malamute rescue group had offered soon after the incident in July, but according to Lanea, that option was denied.
However, Ciecko said the county gave the family a fair process and considered all options.
Prior to the original ruling, Caleb had turned Lladk in for bite quarantine and surrendered ownership. At the time, reports show he made statements saying that Lladk had begun showing aggression and that he killed a chicken, which Caleb now says were lies amid a state of panic.
"I lied on the report because I was an emotional ,distressed mess because of how the situation happened and how I didn't have any control over the situation," Caleb said. "I panicked and stuff like that, and it might be being held against me."
Just five days after the bite, Caleb called saying he had a change of heart and wanted to reclaim Lladk. Now, with euthanasia scheduled once again, Caleb said he is in the fight to save Lladk wholeheartedly.
"We don't want to accept it. We're going to fight for it because it's wrong," Caleb said.
Lanea said that even if the county does put Lladk down, the family will not stop fighting for Lladk and others like him.
For more, see O'Connell-Babcock's letter to the city attorney and county commissioners.
This story has been updated to show the euthanasia date has been changed from after 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, to after 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23, and that the court is expected to make a final decision next week.
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