ASHLAND - An Ashland woman could face up to nearly a year in jail after the city law director's office alleged her two vicious dogs attacked four people, sending all four to the hospital.
Sharon Etzwiler was arraigned in Ashland Municipal Court Friday, pleading guilty to two counts of failure to register a dog and not guilty to two counts of failure to confine a vicious dog.
The charges stem from an Aug. 2 incident in which Etzwiler's two dogs -- both large, male American bulldog-boxer mixes -- reportedly attacked two women and two men on Foxmoor Lane in Ashland.
One of the victims was hospitalized for several days due to the severity of her injuries. The other three victims were also taken to the hospital for dog bite injuries, according to an Ashland Police report.
Judge John Good ordered Etzwiler to pay fines of $50 plus court costs for each minor misdemeanor failure to register charge.
Good also set a pretrial date of Sept. 7 for the two remaining charges, which are more serious. Each first-degree misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, if the defendant is convicted.
Etzwiler questioned how she could have failed to confine vicious dogs when the dogs were not ruled as vicious by the dog warden until after the incident.
"The allegation is that they were vicious dogs when you failed to confine them," Good said in response. "I understand that they were not declared vicious dogs until a week after they were failed to be confine, and that may or may not be a defense in this case. That is an issue here."
The dogs are being held in the custody of Ashland County Dog Warden Tom Kosht.
If Etzwiler is found guilty of one or both counts of failure to confine a vicious dog, the court could order certain conditions of confinement for the dogs or it could order the dogs be put down.
"Obviously, this is a serious situation for you and the other people involved," Good told Etzwiler. "People were hurt here, and the court understands that."
Good agreed to give Etzwiler a few weeks to hire an attorney to represent her in the case.