Dogs still held by Larimer County after charges dismissed in November attack

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. -- A Larimer County couple continues fighting to get its dogs back from animal control after they were seized in November.

The animal control officer was attacked by the two dogs in a rural area near Johnstown on Nov. 17. The officer was seriously injured.

Owners Kenneth Smith and Ronee Rondestvedt said the dogs involved are Duke, a 4-year-old bulldog/boxer/pit bull mix and Max, an 18-month-old Labrador mix. They said shock collars kept both dogs in their yard.

Smith and Rondestvedt said the animal control officer was following up on an incident when an oil worker was "nipped" by at least one of the dogs. They said that incident and the one that injured the animal control officer both happened on the owners' property. Additionally, the owners said the dogs have all the necessary vaccinations and are registered with the Larimer Humane Society.

The family’s attorney says charges were dismissed, but the dogs have not been released by Larimer County.

"My blood was boiling. I miss my dogs. My kids miss them. It’s been hard to tell the kids they’re not coming home," said Smith.

"It was heartbreaking. You get one good email saying everything is good to go and you can go get your dogs. And you call and you can’t get them," said Rondestvedt.

The family’s attorney, Juliette Piccone, says a judge dismissed the case because "people in certain professions are putting themselves at risk of being bitten. And we, as a society, have decided it doesn't make sense to be criminally prosecuting the owners of those dogs."

But Piccone says prosecutors are now attempting to file new charges.

Meanwhile, Max and Duke remain in limbo.

The family says that had the officer called before going to the home, the attack never would have happened.

They are now hoping to see their dogs in early January.

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