Dog-attack defendant accepts plea bargain
December 7, 2006
RIFLE ” A woman whose pit bull terrier mauled an elderly Silt woman in September accepted a plea bargain Wednesday afternoon in Garfield County Court in Rifle and was ordered to perform community service, pay fines and possibly restitution to the victim.
Julie Dawn Sullivan, 32, of Silt, appeared in court with her attorney, William Schubert.
Sullivan was originally charged with ownership of a dangerous dog inflicting bodily harm, and a county dog licensing violation. She pleaded guilty to not having her dog licensed and received a $50 fine.
On the charge of ownership of a dangerous dog inflicting bodily harm, she pleaded no contest and received a one-year deferred sentence in the plea arrangement. Sullivan must also perform 40 hours of community service and pay a total of $419 in court costs and fines.
She could be liable for restitution to the victim, pending a decision by the district attorney’s office, which will be addressed within in the next 90 days.
Sullivan had originally requested a judge trial with Judge Jason Javanovich.
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The charges stemmed from an incident on Sept. 22, when Sullivan’s 3-year-old pit bull, “Butterbean,” attacked Judy McGruder, 74, who had been going to pick up her grandson and mistakenly ended up at Sullivan’s residence. After speaking to a man who answered the door, McGruder was heading back to her car when Butterbean attacked her several times, biting her on the left arm, in the leg and the backside as well as the head. McGruder was hospitalized for several days afterward.
Shortly afterward, in a letter to the editor to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Sullivan apologized for the incident and agreed to have the dog euthanized.
“I believe there are no second chances for a dog that behaves like this,” she said in the letter. “I didn’t want anything to do with the dog once I heard what had happened. The bottom line is, he will not be able to do this to anyone else.”
However, Sullivan maintained that the dog did not have any past history of being violent and that she had owned him since he was a puppy.
The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.