June 27, 2014
A Fluvanna County judge ruled on Friday that the dogs involved in an alleged dog fighting case are the property of the Commonwealth, and now the suspect’s lawyer feels the animals will be killed before the case goes to trial.
Brenton Mathis, 39, was in court Friday for pre-trail hearings over the fate of the dogs seized from his mother's property in January. Mathis is charged with multiple counts of dog fighting and animal cruelty.
The Commonwealth’s attorney said Mathis was ordered to pay $60,000 cash bond for the care of the 10 pitbulls at the SPCA, a sum Mathis's attorney said he could not pay.
"My clients are poor people. They did not have $60,000 to give the Commonwealth," said Mathis' attorney Terry Hughes.
The judge ruled the dogs were them property of the Commonwealth because of Mathis's failure to pay the bond. For that reason Hughes argued for a stay of execution, saying she feels the Commonwealth intends to kill the animals before Mathis's guilt or innocence is determined.
"They have been complaining that they don't have the money to take care of the dogs, so they are either to have the dogs killed or adopt them out. We don't know which of those things, but it's certainly within their legal right to kill the dogs," Hughes said.
If Mathis's is found not guilty there is a chance he could get the dogs back, which he says are his families pets.
"If they are dead or adopted out, it's a moot point," said Hughes.
Prosecutors say they do not necessarily plan to kill the dogs, but because they are in the care of the Commonwealth, it's up to the state to decide their fate.