No euthanization for husky that killed McKeesport child

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A dog that killed a McKeesport newborn in February will be allowed to live, but only in the confines of an animal sanctuary that specializes in handling dangerous dogs under an agreement announced this morning.

Prosecutors and attorneys representing the interests of Helo the husky agreed today that the dog could be sent to an out-of-state animal sanctuary from which it cannot be adopted.

"The community is safe, the dog will be away from humans," Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka said after the court appearance. "It was a compromise."

Prosecutors had hoped to have the dog declared dangerous, which likely would have meant it would be euthanized. Instead, the husky will live with 70 other dogs at an undisclosed location.

The agreement, approved by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Edward Borkowski, marked the end of a hearing to determine the dog's fate after it fatally bit 3-day-old Howard Nicholson after his mother, Brandy Furlong, had stepped out of the room.

William Uhring, of Churchill, came forward to adopt the dog, called "Nikko" at the time, only to have it taken by authorities when Judge Borkowski ordered it seized and killed.

Mr. Uhring, who wasn't present in court this morning, appealed the order, leading to the court proceedings.

Helo will be transferred from a shelter in Monroeville to the facility next week. Attorneys declined to give its name or location, citing concerns for the safety of the dog and its handlers.

Mr. Uhring had received threats on his family members and other pets and thought it best to remove himself from the situation as long as the dog could live, attorney Ryan Mergl said.

Ms. Furlong, 21, has been charged with child endangerment and other violations of the state's dog laws after the deadly attack and faces a preliminary hearing on those charges in June.

breaking - neigh_south

Sadie Gurman: sgurman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. First Published April 27, 2012 4:15 PM


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