Judge Rules that a “Wolf-Hybrid” Dog Be Returned to Owner.

July 2, 2010



A homeless Plymouth man, Todd Wagoner, will be allowed to keep his dog Shyrtkee despite the fact that the City of Plymouth was seeking to have the animal euthanized.

Judge Robert Bowen, Marshall County Superior Court I, ruled late Friday afternoon that the dog should be returned to Wagoner. Bowen said, “I cannot find that the City of Plymouth has met its burden in establishing that Shyrtkee is a “vicious dog” within the definition of their own ordinance.” The Plymouth City Ordinance Section 92.26 prohibits a person from keeping a vicious dog anywhere within the corporate boundaries of Plymouth. It further defines a vicious dog “as any dog which is capable of inflicting death or serious injury on another person or another domesticated animal” and “has, without provocation, chased, confronted, or approached a person in the street, sidewalk, or other public property in a menacing fashion such as would put an average person in fear of attack.”

Judge Bowen heard arguments in the case on June 30, 2010. The City of Plymouth had filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Complaint on June 9, 2010. The “wolf hybrid” dog has been confined at the Marshall County Humane Society since June 7

after police were called to Aldi’s grocery store following a request that Wagoner be removed from the property .The court papers say: “upon arrival, the officers  found the defendant intoxicated and Shyrtkee tethered to a sign or a tree in or next to the parking lot” .Wagoner was arrested for pubic intoxication. Shyrtkee had to be tranquilized in order to be taken to the Humane Society.

Judge Bowen said, “Shyrtkee is capable to inflicting serious injury to another person and has placed a person in fear of attack. However, in each incident cited (by the City), Shyrtkee did not chase, confront or approach a person in a menacing fashion.” He added, “In one incident, it was by three police officers and animal control officer carrying a pole with a noose. It was only then that Shyrtkee behaved in a menacing fashion.”

A reference in the ruling included the following: “Indiana code 15-20-1-5 provides that a “wolf hybrid” must be kept in a building or a secure enclosure or kept under the reasonable control of an individual and on a leash of eight feet to less.”

Judge Bowen said Wagoner “shall not merely tether or chain Shyrtkee to a stationary object and then leave him unattended.”

The ruling also specified that at least two animal officers and a police officer had to be present when Wagoner picked up the dog. While impounded at he Humane Society, the dog had to be keep in a kennel isolated from other animals and people.

Wagoner is being held responsible for the costs of boarding Shyrtkee during the period he was incarcerated from June 7 through June 23.