Seizure of Dogs was Legal
UPDATE 07/24/08: A judge ruled that officers did not violate a Livingston County woman's rights when they seized her 10 bulldogs after the animals killed two people. The dogs were owned by 52-year-old Diane Cockrell, who has been charged with manslaughter and lesser charges in the deaths last September of Edward Gierlach and Cheryl Harper. Her trial begins Aug. 25th. If Cockrell is convicted, her attorney may use this ruling for an appeal.
07/22/08: Double Fatality Trial
Livingston County, MI - A judge is considering an attorney’s request to suppress evidence against a former Iosco Township woman facing charges in two fatal dog maulings. Police say four of Diane Ruth Cockrell’s American bulldogs killed Edward Gierlach at his cottage on Crofoot Road and Cheryl Harper, 56, while she was taking a walk along the same road. Each victim had been bitten more than 100 times.
Defense attorney Daniel Blank is asking Judge Stanley J. Latreille to rule that police and a Livingston County Animal Control officer violated Cockrell’s Fourth Amendment rights when they seized her dogs after the attack. He said the dogs were secured in a barn on Cockrell’s property and at that point, authorities needed a search warrant to go inside and get the dogs.
The hearing continues at 1 p.m. Wednesday, at which time a trial date is also expected to be set. Cockrell, 52, is charged with two counts of owning dangerous animals causing death.
07/27/08: Coverage of the Double Fatal Dog Attack in Livingston, Michigan