They are some of Dallas' top legal minds.
They came to Municipal Court No. 11 trying to stave off an execution. They took on the case pro bono and they were asking Judge Michael Acuna to reconsider his order to execute a dog named the Lamb of God.
Lamb of God’s plight has generated massive support. More than 130,000 people have signed a petition trying to save her life. Almost $10,000 has been raised to pay for the dog’s care should the execution order be lifted.
“The dog has a lot of support in the community and in the legal community,” says Brad Lollar, the dog’s lead attorney.
His second chair was Don Feare, a law professor and top animal law expert. Also on the defense team was well-known attorneys, George Milner, John Gioffredi and Deandra Grant.
Last month, Acuna ordered that Lamb of God be put down after he bit a 13-year-old boy. The boy required five stitches.
It was the third time that the dog bit someone in the last year, according to court records.
Acuna’s decision enraged the Deep Ellum community. They'd been posting on a Deep Ellum Facebook page for months contending the dog’s owner, Sean Baugh, was abusive to the dog.
They say they had made repeated complaints to Dallas Animal Services about the way Baugh treated the dog. They were upset that the city had returned the dog to Baugh after the second dog bite.
“We’ve tried for months to get her out of harm’s way and into safety,” says Raine Devries, who helped organize the effort to save the dog.
Baugh was well known around Deep Ellum for letting people take pictures with the dog for a fee. He was usually carrying her in a milk carton. That’s how the child got bit.
“I am not an animal abuser. That's my best friend,” he says.
He says he prayed to God for a fully trained dog. He found the dog three days later, he said.
“I named her Lamb of God,” Baugh said. “Ever since I found her miracle after miracle has been happening to me in my life.”
Baugh claims he’s been traumatized and the situation has given him PTSD.
“I just want the little dog to be alive because it doesn’t deserve this,” he said. “We sell pictures to make an honest living.”
He says the boy got in the dog’s face and the dog snapped at him.
“I always tell people to be careful,” he says. “She’s protective.”
In court Monday, Lamb of God’s supporters packed the dour as attorneys argued for than an hour.
Baugh, the dog’s owner, also came to court.
“I named her Lamb of God and dedicated her to the Lord,” he said.
Lollar and Fear argued that Baugh and by extension the Lamb of God, did not get a fair trial.
“Mr. Baugh was in no way capable of walking in here and defending this case,” Feare told the judge.
“The basis of our system of justice is that it be fair.”
They argued that Baugh had been denied his “right of confrontation” because the child the dog bit was not called to testify in the last hearing.
Assistant City Attorney Kellie Brady repeatedly objected. Her position was that Baugh got a fair hearing and the execution should continue as planned.
She said Lamb of God had seriously injured the child without provocation.
Baugh was visibly agitated and walking around at times during the hearing. Two additional city marshals were brought in to monitor the court room.
After the hearing ended, Baugh came yelling and screaming at Devries and the others who had been accusing him of abusing the dog.
“All the lies need to stop. All the slandering needs to stop,” he says.
He called the prosecutor stupid. He accused people of trying to make money off his dog.
Devries says animal rescue groups have lined up to take the dog if they can convince the judge to give the Lamb of God a new hearing.
The judge is expected to soon decide if the dog gets another day in court.
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