Dogs get day in court after receiving subpoenas

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - December 15, 2011

The three Great Danes and one blue pit bull were ordered to appear this week in the animal neglect trial of their owners, Wayne Martin and Layne Woods. The Portland residents are accused of failing to give two of the dogs adequate veterinary care.

Defense attorney Chris O'Connor subpoenaed Merlin, Patches, Coco and Raven to demonstrate that they were in good shape. The group waited quietly - and without accidents - Monday and Tuesday to be called for the witness stand in Judge John Wittmayer's courtroom.

They slept on small rugs and sprawled in the hall. Occasionally, they slurped water from a metal bowl or scarfed down treats. Mostly they waited with their handlers - no barking, no yelping, and no accidents on the marble floor.

Finally, after hours of waiting on Tuesday, they were led into the courtroom. The jurors looked at each, and then the dogs were led out. Only Raven did anything untoward as she stood before the witness stand, but the multi-colored rug hid the slobber spot.

Authorities seized the four on May 12 - three days after an ailing Shar-Pei had been voluntarily handed over to authorities and was later euthanized. Witnesses from the Oregon Humane Society said all were infested with fleas, one Great Dane had leg wounds so deep they were oozing pus and the Shar-Pei had a pus-filled mass on her head.

Defense attorneys contend that the prosecution's accusations are overblown, and the dogs had food, water and shelter in a loving home.

Wittmayer told The Oregonian that he had once been told about such a procedure from three decades ago, but nobody else recalled anything similar.

The trial was resuming Wednesday with human witnesses.

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