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Deschutes County Dog Board orders three dogs who fatally mauled homeless man be humanely euthanized

(Update: Adding video, more details of hearing, ban on possessing animals)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Three dogs who fatally mauled a man living at a Juniper Ridge homeless camp last summer, leading to their owner’s guilty plea to criminally negligent homicide and three-year prison term, will be humanely euthanized under an order signed Tuesday by the Deschutes County Dog Board.

The board reviewed evidence and testimony before issuing the order that the dogs DJ, Littlez and Precious, housed at Redmond’s BrightSide Animal Center at county expense, “be humanely euthanized.”

“The Dog Board finds that the three dogs were all actively involved in the attack/mauling death” last July of Joseph Keeton, and that “the dogs are dangerous” as defined under state statute and by court judgement.

“By virtue of the forfeiture ordered by the Circuit Court, the dogs presently have no owner or keeper,” the order stated.

Jessica Rae (Charity) McCleery, 38, agreed to a negotiated guilty plea to charges of criminally negligent homicide and maintaining a dangerous dog after her three pit bull-mastiff dogs killed the 56-year-old man. She was sentenced last month.

Deputy District Attorney Rosalie Beaumont told Circuit Judge Wells Ashby that the three dogs previously sent three people to the hospital with injuries, once when McCleery was present. She said the crime was “entirely preventable, if she’d adequately tied up her dogs or kept them contained that night.”

At the start of Tuesday's brief Dog Board session, county legal counsel Dave Doyle noted the unique nature of the hearing, mandated by state law, and the written documentation provided to the board for review of the court's judgment.

The five-member dog board's primary role is to hold hearings for dogs accused of chasing, wounding or killing livestock, to determine the dogs' appropriate disposition and preventative measures to avoid future incidents.

Before the 3-0 vote, Dog Board member Sandy Storrie asked if an order can state that someone is banned from possessing animals for life. Beaumont noted that state law doesn't allow lifetime bans.

District Attorney Steve Gunnels, among those who attended the hearing by Zoom (it can be viewed on YouTube), later told NewsChannel 21: "For the time that she (McCleery) is in prison, as well as the three years afterwards while she’s on post-prison supervision (i.e., parole), she’s not allowed to possess domestic animals."

"There’s a general statute that also prohibits people with certain animal convictions from owning animals for five years," he added, "but it appears this does not apply to her, as it’s not technically an animal abuse case."

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Barney Lerten

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