Bolt may have a fighting chance to live with the help of a new attorney.
Dan Mendonca, the owner of Bolt, has hired San Francisco-based attorney Bruce A. Wagman, who focuses on animal law litigation, consultation, legislative affairs and education.
“Bolt’s new legal counsel is highly esteemed, credentialed, and experienced in this area,” said the Save Bolt campaign via Facebook.
“We are grateful for what Bolt’s first attorney accomplished, but a review of this case from an outsiders perspective gave us insight that Bolt needed a different level of representation.”
Bolt, an Alaskan Malamute accused of biting two Turlock women in September and October 2012, was slated to be euthanized following a November 2012 Turlock administrative hearing. Mendonca argues that Bolt was provoked by the women, and sought legal council to prevent Bolt's execution.
The case was originally represented by Modesto attorney Carl Combs, who successfully petitioned to put Bolt’s euthanization on hold. A hearing to determine Bolt's fate was postponed to Jan. 16, but was later delayed to March 8 to allow both parties more time to collect records and supporting documents.
According to the Save Bolt campaign, Mendonca is currently $4,000 in debt due to court and attorney fees. That's despite $6,000 in community donations Mendonca received to date.
With Bolt’s new attorney, who has been involved in multiple state and federal cases involving a wide range of animal law issues, the case is expected to begin moving forward more rapidly.
Mendonca also teamed up with Akita Angels, an organization based in Southern California that offers guidance and support for owners of large, dominant breeds. The group has helped hundreds of families with training, behavior issues, and finding veterinarians to meet their dogs’ needs.
While the details surrounding the incident remain unclear, it is expected that the new hearing on March 8 will bring to light many of the events leading up to the attack.
The hearing will also help determine whether the City of Turlock’s judgment was accurate in determining Bolt to be a ‘vicious animal’.
The City of Turlock has stated they will not comment on the case, as is city policy with pending litigation.
Despite passionate feelings on both sides of the case, the Save Bolt campaign requested that supporters remain civil until the hearing occurs.
“It is very important that everyone who supports Bolt conduct themselves in a peaceful and respectful manner,” the Save Bolt campaign wrote. “Please do not contact the City, the Animal Control, the Mayor, City Council, or, harass the victims in this case, in any way, shape, or form.”
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