CongoWell people, this is about the best news I could bring, Congo, the German Shepherd is FREE!! The James family reached a settlement with Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office today, just one day before they were due in court.

This is an email from guy James that was forwarded to me (thanks Daphne!)

We just got back from the court house, and the nightmare is over. Congo and the pups are free. No labels have been imposed, I will update the website with more info it should go live in a week or so. But most importantly i want to thank everyone for everything they have done to support us all.

And this is the story from NJ.com

The case of Congo, the most famous dog in New Jersey, settled with a whimper instead of a bark.

Guy and Elizabeth James, the Princeton Township couple whose German shepherd mauled a landscaper who came onto their property on June 5, 2007, agreed to a settlement with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office one day before they were due in court for an appeal before Superior Court Judge Mitchel Ostrer.

Congo had faced death after he was declared a vicious dog by a Municipal Court judge last year. That ruling provoked an outcry from thousands of animal lovers and hundreds protested the dog’s fate outside the municipal building.

The James family then appealed that ruling which included four of their other dogs, then six-month-old puppies, who joined in the attack. The other dogs had been labeled “potentially dangerous,” which carried fines and penalties.

Under the agreement, the couple paid a fine of $50 per dog and pleaded guilty to a violation of a township ordinance, said their lawyer Robert Lytle. The James family will continue to keep the dogs behind a fence on their 10-acre property and warning signs will remain in place.

The charge of maintaining a vicious and potentially dangerous dog against Elizabeth James was dismissed.

In a written statement, Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Doris Galuchie said,
“Our goal in this case, as it is in every case, is to do what is in the best interest of justice and community safety. In particular, our objective was to ensure that the community is protected from vicious or potentially dangerous dogs. We believe that the settlement achieves that purpose.

“In the event that we lost the appeal, the state would have no legal authority to impose any safety restrictions regarding the dogs. As the defendant is agreeing to all of the safety precautions enumerated in the Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Act, we feel this resolution is the most prudent course of action.”

Guy James said this result was the best outcome for his family, which prevents the possible euthanazation of Congo, and one they had suggested all along.

“It was a good settlement for both parties,” James said. “The township got their protection and we got what we wanted.”

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