Tooele Police to decide fate of husky after nearly 30 animals killed in one night

Posted at 9:46 PM, May 31, 2018

TOOELE, Utah -- Tooele Police will decide the future of a husky they said killed nearly 30 animals in a neighborhood on Memorial Day.

They said Thursday it's possible the dog could end up back with her owner, be given to a rescue, or she could be euthanized.

The husky is in quarantine at the Tooele City Animal Shelter, police said, after she escaped from a home in the early hours of Memorial Day and killed animals in the backyards of two homes.

Police said one homeowner lost 15 of her chickens.

Trip Kiss said the husky took five of his chickens, two rabbits, two ducks, a turkey and a specially trained goose named Rex.

The animals were part of a petting zoo that he and his wife run for disabled children. He said he was out about $1,200 in damages.

"There was a moment there where we were considering shutting down and not restarting," Kiss said.

Surveillance from his home shows the husky trotting around with rabbits in her mouth. He said she tore a hole in his metal fencing, and almost made it into the peacock den as well.

"We thought the coop enclosure, being enclosed with the roofing and caging was enough, but it wasn't," he said.

Sergeant Jeremy Hansen with Tooele City Police said 28 charges—including 27 for attacking animals and one for animal at large—have been sent to the city attorney's office for screening against the husky's owner, Mackenzie Morton of Taylorsville.

Morton said Wednesday that her 4-year old husky Nikita escaped from her boyfriend's house and she tried to find her dog, but it was dark so she left the door open thinking Nikita would return.

She also said Wednesday that she found dead chickens in her neighbor's yard, but didn't know what to do at the time and didn't want to wake her neighbors.

As far as Nikita's future, it's still up in the air.

"They have to have an administrative hearing on the dog itself," Sgt. Hansen explained.

That hearing, he said, can end in one of three rulings: Not potentially dangerous, potentially dangerous, or dangerous.

If they decide Nikita is not potentially dangerous, Sgt. Hansen said she'd return to her owner and nothing else would happen.

Should police rule that Nikita is potentially dangerous, then Sgt. Hansen explained she'd return to the owner with restrictions.

"Has to remain on a lead at all times, and they can't be out and about roaming the city and there can't be any further attacks," he said.

Hansen also said it's possible the dog can be deemed potentially dangerous, and given to a local rescue instead. He said if that's the case, the police department would choose the rescue.

The last option? Putting Nikita to sleep.

"If it's deemed dangerous, it has to be euthanized," Sgt. Hansen said.

He said it's up to the police chief to decide what's best for the community.

"I want the dog's life preserved," Kiss said. "I don't want it euthanized. I don't hold any ill intent to the dog."

Kiss said he'd be in favor of route of the dog ending up at a rescue. He said Arctic Rescue has already reached out to police.

In the meantime, he's calculating his losses but said the community's stepped in to help them get back on their feet.

He said it'll be around three to four months to get back up and running.

"We've had more community members than we even imagined or could imagine come forward," he explained.

Kiss said the mayor of Stockton donated cattle fencing from his personal farm to help Kiss build an extra layer of protection for his animals.

He said Ridgeline Farms has offered to replace all the chickens lost between both homes.

Others are offering up animals, supplies and more fencing, he said.

"With the outpouring of help, it's definitely lifted our spirits a bit," Kiss said.

A fundraising account has been set up to help recoup losses and collect money for REACH, a local charity that Kiss said they do a lot of work with.