Dog who killed 27 animals on Memorial Day won’t be Euthanized

Posted at 9:52 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 16:02:37-04

TOOELE, Utah - Tooele Police decided Tuesday not to euthanize a Husky they say killed more than two-dozen animals outside two different homes on Memorial Day.

On the same day, the Husky's owner appeared in court to face criminal charges.

The Husky, a 4-year old female named Nikita, can be released to her owner Mackenzie Morton, but police said they set four conditions Morton would need to follow before they release Nikita.

Nikita, police said, killed 27 animals including chickens, rabbits, a turkey and a specially-trained goose in the early morning hours of May 28 after they said she escaped a home.

Some of the animals killed belonged to a charity petting zoo for disabled children run for the organization REACH.

Morton previously told Fox 13 that she tried looking for Nikita, but it was too dark so she left the door open for Nikita to return.

"The dog was deemed 'Potentially Dangerous' in Tooele City," said Tooele City Police Sergeant Jeremy Hansen, of the police department's verdict.

Because of that, he said the Husky will be banned from Tooele City.

In addition to that, Sgt. Hansen said Morton must buy a liability insurance policy that covers $25,000 in personal injury that may be caused by the dog and she will need to hire a professional dog trainer approved by the department to address behavioral issues.

Lastly, he said Morton will need to pay all dog impound fees. He said Nikita is still in the Tooele City animal shelter, where she's been in quarantine for three weeks.

"I'm happy the dog will not be euthanized," said Trip Kiss, who runs the petting zoo. "I'm disappointed that [Morton] has the opportunity to get the dog back."

Kiss said replacing the animals and fixing the damage will cost $1,350. He's received some donations, he said, but still has a long way to go to get the petting zoo fully back up and running.

Someone donated two chickens that he said are specialty Brahma chickens, as well as a bunny and a 3-week old goat named Ellie.

fundraising account was set up, and a Tooele business is hosting an event to raise money in July.

His original hope, Kiss indicated, is that the dog be given to a rescue.

Tooele Police said that could happen, should Morton decide to do so instead of abide by the stipulations.

"She can release the dog to an animal sanctuary or a shelter," Sgt. Hansen said.

According to the letter police emailed to Morton, she has five days to decide.

Meanwhile, Morton faces five misdemeanor charges for animal bite by another domestic animal, and one charge for animal at large.

The Tooele City Attorney's Office said Tuesday they based the number of charges filed on evidence of animals killed, and that prosecutors will pursue restitution.

Kiss said he's worried the drop in the number of charges from the police's original 28 means restitution won't equal what he lost.

Tooele County Justice Court said Morton pleaded "not guilty" during a hearing on Tuesday.

Morton did not return a call or text for comment.