2010-09-12 / Front Page

Port Hope man to pay restitution for dog attack

By Dave Fredrick Editor

Pictured above is one of the two dogs involved in an attack on an area sheep farm. Police say, over 50 animals were injured. Photo by Dave Fredrick Pictured above is one of the two dogs involved in an attack on an area sheep farm. Police say, over 50 animals were injured. Photo by Dave Fredrick Following his court appearance in Huron County District Court, Matthew Leese, 25, of Port Hope has agreed to pay full restitution, either personally or through his insurance company, for destroyed or injured farm animals. He also gave approval to have the two pitbulls involved in the incident destroyed.

Leese was sentenced on two misdemeanor counts; for having an unlicensed dog and having a stray dog. According to police reports, the two dogs attacked a large number of sheep at a Rubicon Township farm on June 3rd, killing or injuring up to 50 animals. The sheep were owned by Robert Gaffke, of Port Hope.

According to court documents, Lesse was sentenced to 30 hours of community service and was ordered to pay $275 in fines and court costs. The final amount of restitution to be paid is still in question, depending on the outcome of a possible insurance claim that may help with covering his costs. Officials said Leese had been warned on different occasions to keep his dogs on his property, prior to the attacks.

During his sentencing, Leese was ordered to pay $21,000 in restitution, including the costs of housing the animals at the Thumb Animal Shelter during the investigation, destroying the dogs and other associated costs. A hearing has been set for September 24th to determine exactly how much Leese, or his insurance company, will pay. Both charges carried a maximum of 90 days in jail, although the farm owner did not seek jail time for Leese.

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