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25 years ago, 2 Bend dogs on doggie death row drew worldwide attention — and were spared

(Update: adding video, comments)

'Crazy, viral moment' before internet took off helped press lawmakers to change state law

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A quarter-century ago, back when Michael Jordan was dominating the NBA and Bill Clinton was sworn in for a second term as president, a story about two Bend dogs placed on "doggie death row" for chasing livestock made headlines around the world.

Jessie and Chase, a golden retriever and a beagle, were set to be killed after chasing some sheep in southeast Bend. At the time an Oregon law stated that dogs would be killed if they chased or harmed livestock.

“That’s all people wanted to talk about, read about and hear about," former Bend resident Chris Eck, who represented the owners as their attorney, told NewsChannel 21 on Thursday. "It was a really crazy, viral moment before viral moments were talked about.”

“I actually did an interview with Tom Brokaw's (NBC) evening news. I did three interviews with BBC, I was in the LA times. I mean, this thing truly went global.” 

It was Eck's first criminal law case -- and as he recalled, "It was the first time I got a client off of death row.”

"It was simply a matter of, was she (the dog owner, Lynne Stone) afforded the right sort of due process that folks are entitled under both state and federal constitutions before something was taken from them, whether its property or liberty," he said. "It actually ended up being a constitutional case it just ended up that dogs were at issue." 

The two dogs were spared after the family went to court to challenge the county dog board's death sentence, and the pair went to live with another family in Deschutes County.

But in a prelude to today's intense social media attention, the dogs and their owners were happily reunited before the TV cameras -- because the sheep's owner, fearful due to death threats, dropped the charges.

Still, as a result of this and some other high-profile cases, state law later was amended to allow such a relocation option among others that can be read here at in law 609.162.

Eck who no longer practices law, said the story of the two dogs comes up every now and again in his personal life. due to all the attention it sparked.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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