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Judge spares life of Jack the Sheltie dog

By JOLEEN FERRIS

Jack the Sheltie will not be put to death after all.

A New Hartford Town Court Justice ordered the dog euthanized back in April after the animal bit the two-year-old grandchild of the owner in the face.

However, the dog's owner, Natalie Beratta, appealed that decision, pleading with the court to instead allow them to find the dog another home, away from any children.

Oneida County Court Judge Michael L. Dwyer released his decision on Thursday. Judge Dwyer said that the court received hundreds of letters about this case from people claiming to know the facts of what had occurred. He said the amount of misinformation circulating was disturbing.

In his decision, Judge Dwyer says that it was established at the lower court hearing that Jack was a dangerous dog; that the child victim suffered 12 puncture wounds to her face as a result of his bite. Dwyer cites not one, but two prior incidents where the dog bit a child, and that the owner testified under oath that the dog does not get along with children.

The judge's decision state's that the current child victim will require plastic surgery in order to eliminate or reduce the scarring to her face.

The judge says that, now, several months after the incident, the finding could be made that the dog caused serious physical injury, but that the same finding could not have been made four days after the attack, and that without finding of serious physical injury at the time of the hearing, the euthanasia order cannot be affirmed.

The judge has ordered that Stevens-Swan Humane Society turn Jack the Sheltie over to his new owner, whom the court has interviewed, on Saturday, August 24.

The court has received adequate assurance that the new owner will not let any children under the age of 12 to be near the dog. The new owner will have total discretion as to whether the old owner can visit the dog.

The dog cannot be transferred to a third party without knowledge and consent of the court and under no circumstances can he be returned to his prior owner, Natalie Beratta.

The case garnered volumes of attention on social media, including Jack's own Facebook page, which had more than 11,000 'likes'.

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