More than four months after a pair of dogs fatally attacked a 7-year-old girl and injured her mother, a Wake County judge is set to decide whether the Town of Garner can move forward with euthanizing the animals.
The owners of the dogs, Joseph and Amanda White, will make their case against that fate at a hearing on Friday.
The hearing comes after Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier granted a preliminary injunction in July, barring the town from euthanizing the two dogs for 60 days.
Terri Jones, an attorney for the town, said the two sides have not come to an agreement in that time.
“The Whites would still like the dogs returned,” she said. “The town’s position is that these dogs are too dangerous to take the risk of returning them to the public.”
The preliminary injunction is set to end Monday, four days before the hearing.
And while Jones said Garner could euthanize the dogs after the injunction expires, she added that the town’s council had “reluctantly” agreed to wait until after the hearing.
John Kirby, an attorney for the Whites, did not return multiple calls from The News & Observer for this story.
7-year-old killed, mother injured in April attack.
In April, Heather Trevaskis and her daughter, Jayden Belle Henderson, 7, were attacked while looking after their neighbors’ dogs while the owners were out of town, The N&O previously reported.
They were taken by ambulance to WakeMed, but the daughter did not survive her injuries, authorities said.
One month later, then-Garner Police Chief Joe Binns denied the Whites’ application for a dangerous dog permit, which would have allowed them to get their dogs back, citing a “substantial and unnecessary danger to the public.”
“We believe that the dogs are just too dangerous to be allowed to be returned to their owners,” Binns said in a news release at the time. “After reviewing all the information, the attack appeared to occur without warning or provocation.”
In their lawsuit against the town, the Whites said they had told Dave Henderson, Jayden’s father, that no children should be allowed to play with the dogs “out of an abundance of caution.”
In an affidavit to the court, Henderson said he was never given those instructions.
The Whites said in the suit that they had moved to Franklin County, and they asked that the dogs be returned to them there.
But in July, after learning the Whites intended to bring the dogs to Franklin County, the Board of Commissioners voted to require that any dog that kills or has killed a human be euthanized within 30 days.
What the judge could decide.
The Whites have filed two motions to the court.
The first, a motion for summary judgment, asks that the judge make a decision in the case without it going to trial.
The other motion asks the judge to extend the preliminary injunction, which if granted would further delay the town’s ability to move forward with euthanasia.
Trevaskis and Henderson will attend Friday’s hearing, said William Plyler, their attorney.
Plyler added that Trevaskis and Henderson support the town’s position that the dogs be euthanized.
“They don’t understand how the owners of the dogs want these dogs returned,” he said. “These dogs killed their daughter.”