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Trial set for pit bull attack case

BY HAWKINS TEAGUE news@mayfield-messenger.com

Graves District Judge Deborah Hawkins Crooks issued rulings earlier this week releasing two pit bulls that allegedly attacked a Farmington man back into their owners' custody while also setting a date for the owners to stand trial.

In connection to a July incident in which police say a man was severely injured by two pit bulls, Chris Bouland and Tina Dykes have pleaded not guilty to charges of harboring a vicious animal. Their attorney, Stephanie Powell of the Murray public defender's office, requested for Crooks to set a date for both defendants to be tried together assuming the case moves forward. Crooks set the trial for 10 a.m., Friday, Feb. 10. Unless Crooks eventually dismisses the case, a final pre-trial conference is scheduled for 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Powell said she was planning to file a motion to dismiss the charges, but she said she would like to hold the motion until she had a few days to review further evidence she received from County Attorney John Cunningham.

"Today (Nov. 21), I just received more discovery from the County Attorney's Office, and Mr. Cunningham has told me that I'll be receiving more discovery as early as tomorrow (Nov. 22), so I would like a chance to review that," Powell said. "But at this time, I would be willing to go ahead and set a jury trial."

Crooks also said she would hold Powell's motion to dismiss.

Since the incident occurred in July, the dogs had been held at the Mayfield Graves County Animal Shelter. Crooks granted Powell's request to release the dogs on several conditions, including that they be leashed and muzzled if outside, that they be otherwise kept indoors, that they be kept outside of Graves County and that the owners comply with any animal-related ordinances in his new home county. Powell said Bouland had moved out of the county since the charges were originally filed.

According to Kentucky State Police, Post 1 received a report on July 2 of a male who had been attacked by two dogs on Dove Road in the Farmington community. Trooper William Propes responded to the scene - Bouland's home - and located Farmington resident Mitchell Slayden with multiple lacerations.

Slayden was airlifted to Tri-Star Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was treated for life threatening injuries. He initially remained in critical condition, but was released after several days, according to hospital officials. Police said Slayden had ridden his bike onto the property thinking someone else lived there. Two pit bulls chased Slayden off the property and attacked him across an adjacent roadway, police said.

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