Susan and Gary Kolb moved from Jersey City, NJ to Oakridge, NJ in 2011 with their son and two dogs Jumba and Imani. Little did they know their new life would result in a living nightmare. Jumba and Imani are both African Boerboels, a large breed dog also known as the South African Mastiff.
Boerboels are gentle giants, originally bred in South Africa as guard dogs for farms and homesteads. These dogs are known to be loyal, protective and good with children.
However, many people view such large breeds as intimidating, dangerous and a threat to the public. The Kolbs, fully aware of such prejudices entered into an agreement in Jersey City to always muzzle their 100 pound dogs in public. This showed they were responsible dog owners as well as considerate of the fears of others who may not know the dogs and their temperament.
But unfortunately, the Kolbs, Jumba and Imani were not going to be left alone to live their lives in peace. Meddling neighbors and an over zealous police force quickly put an end to that. Susan and Gary were walking the dogs at 530 am on a deserted street when one of the dogs dislodged their muzzle. Two police officers immediately cited them for not having the dogs muzzled. The charge; violating their October 2011 agreement with Jersey City.
Jumba and Imani were seized and sent to the Jefferson Township pound where both dogs became depressed, lost weight and became sickly. They were not given adequate exposure to fresh air and sunlight and the cages they were in were too small to accommodate their large size.
The Kolbs visited their dogs every day and begged to be allowed to take them home to restore their health while awaiting trial. Their pleas fell on the deaf ears of Jefferson Township Municipal Prosecutor James LaSala.
Jumba and Imani were given a slight reprieve when they were allowed to be transferred to a shelter called Woofs and Whiskers in Lake Hopatcong, NJ. This facility allowed the dogs to run in a large field and get exercise and fresh air so they were somewhat happier than in the county pound. In December of 2012 the shelter closed and the dogs were sent back to the Jefferson County pound. Dear Jumba was heartbroken and his health took a turn for the worse. He contracted Lymphoma and lost 40 lbs in one month. Susan nursed him with medicine and fluids three times a day. She spoon fed him chicken noodle soup but he wouldn’t heal. His spirit was broken, he didn’t want to live in a hole, and he just wanted to go home. On Wednesday January 16th Jumba died in captivity where he had spent the last 15 months of his life.
The criminal court hearing is set for February 7th 2013 in the Morris County Superior Court under prosecutor Joseph D'Onofrio on charges of walking a “potentially dangerous” dog at 530 am on a deserted street, a crime they will prove they did not commit.
They also have to stand trial for forfeiture in the civil court in Jefferson Township under Prosecutor LaSala. This will be the hearing which decides whether Imani lives or dies.
Prosecutor LaSala is very confident he will win this forfeiture hearing no matter what the outcome of the criminal case in Morris County. He says there is a lower threshold of proof necessary to convict the Kolbs in civil court than in criminal court. Basically LaSala is adamant on destroying Imani.
Last Friday, 1/18/13 the Kolbs learned that Imani has some low thyroid problems and more tests are being run. Her coat looks terrible from severe hair loss and she is still being treated for parasites. Her living conditions at the pound are beyond deplorable.
Imani is in danger and should be returned to the Kolbs for safe keeping. The proof
of the danger is in the fact that one dog has already died. The second
dog is ill. Jefferson Township has demonstrated that they are not
capable of maintaining these pedigree Boerboel animals and this crime of
animal cruelty should not be allowed to continue.
Imani has been left languishing in a cell for 15 months while the court drags its feet on making a decision. What kind of punishment is this? Does this cruelty fit the “crime”? Whatever happened to the right for a fair and speedy trial? One dog is dead and another is dying through no fault of their own. This is a wrong that must be righted for Jumba and Imani’s sake and for all other who fall victim to breed specific hysteria and crooked court systems.
At this point the animal control is charging the Kolbs $12,000.00 for the upkeep of their dogs at the pound. They have managed to pay $6,000.00 but the remaining $6,000.00 must be paid by January 28th or Imani will automatically be euthanized.
To learn more about this case, sign the petition and donate money to help the Kolbs defray these outrageous charges please visit the Kolbs webpage www.savenjdogs.com.
Let’s bring Imani home!