The Alaskan malamute Bolt is headed for greener pastures, and that is not a euphemism for the great beyond.
Bolt was facing euthanasia after being deemed a vicious dog for allegedly biting two Turlock women. But he has been given a second chance at life as the City of Turlock and his owner, Daniel Mendonca, reached a settlement in the case Friday.
Bolt was taken into the custody of Turlock Animal Control Services on Nov. 7, 2012, after allegations were made by McKenzie Leedom and Macie Gilstrap that the dog bit them in separate incidences. The city held a hearing and declared Bolt a vicious dog and slated his euthanasia.
Mendonca hired legal representation and filed a case to stop the euthanasia, arguing the dog had been provoked to bite Leedom when she invaded its space and that Gilstrap was bitten by his other dog, also after being provoked.
In the settlement Mendonca agreed to drop his case against the city and relinquish his ownership of Bolt to the City of Turlock. He also has agreed to pay all costs associated with Bolt’s care and adoption by a rescue group, which amounts to $739, said Interim Assistant City Manager Ron Reid.
In return, the city has agreed to let Bolt be adopted by a non-profit rescue group.
Both Leedom and Gilstrap said they were satisfied with the terms of the settlement.
"I'm actually really happy about the decision," said Gilstrap on Friday. "I'm just glad Bolt's being taken care of in the right way."
Gilstrap also said she was glad that all the "drama, lies and media attention" would be over.
"This is exactly what I've wanted since the very beginning and I am very pleased with the decision," said Leedom.
The rescue group taking Bolt, which requested to be unnamed because of the high media attention paid to this case, is located outside of Stanislaus County and has a good reputation with Turlock’s animal control department.
“Animal control has worked with them in the past and has been very happy with them,” Reid said.
The rescue group has agreed to disclose to any person interested in adopting Bolt “that there are two reported bites and the City has determined him to be vicious and a public nuisance,” according to the settlement agreement.
The settlement also calls for the rescue group to not place Bolt anywhere in Stanislaus County or with Mendonca or anyone related to him. They also assume all risk and liability for the dog.
“The primary concern was always for the safety of the community,” Reid said. “This settlement is the best option for all parties involved given the set of circumstances."
The rescue group has already taken Bolt into their custody, Reid said.