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Nevada Supreme Court hears arguments over fate of dog that killed Henderson one-year-old

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Updated: 7/03/2013 5:01 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The dog that killed a one-year-old boy more than a year ago got his day in the state's highest court. The animal rights group The Lexus Project is arguing to keep the dog alive while the City of Henderson says it was declared vicious after the attack and needs to be put down.

During the hearing, the first thing Brandon Kemble, Henderson's Assistant City Attorney, told the justices was about onion's condition. "He’s becoming more used to the people that he knows at the shelter," Kemble said. "He is not as aggressive towards them but unfortunately he is unpredictable and he’s very aggressive toward strangers."

Kemble admitted, in response to one of the Justices' questions, that Onion was kept in a cage 24 hours a day, though he noted that "[...]it's an extremely large cage. He has a lot of room to move around."

Kemble focused his argument around the idea that The Lexus Project has no right to intervene in what happens to the dog that killed one-year-old Jeremiah Eskew Shahan. The argument claims the dog's owner, Elizabeth Keller, never tried to step in to save the dog.

That's where The Lexus Project disagrees. After the initial suit was filed, Keller signed an affidavit giving control of Onion to The Lexus Project.

Chief Justice Kristina Pickering hinted at the fact that document changes things.

"If something happens post filing, you’re entitled to bring that to the court and say 'I may not have standing when I filed this, but now I do,'" Pickering said.

The justices also grilled Lexus Project attorney Richard Rosenthal for not asking the lower court judge for a new hearing to present the new evidence.

"In retrospect, if we had to do it over again we would have done it very differently," Rosenthal said in response to the justices' comments.

The justices will now take time to craft their decisions to decide who owns the dog and ultimately if it will be put down or sent to a dog sanctuary in Colorado.

One of the big arguments in this case revolves around who owns the dog. The City of Henderson claims the owner signed the dog over to them the day of the attack. The Lexus project says that decision was made under duress and is invalid. The group says they have their own document from the owner giving it to their group.It's up to the justices to decide what happens to Onion next.
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