Trucker continues fight to get seized pit bull back in Salina, Kan.

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 4/14/2015

OOIDA Member Nathan Stewart of Salina, Kan., says he went into Tuesday’s court proceeding hopeful he would be able to pay a fine, prove to the court that he was taking steps to change his address, and make arrangements to possibly get his 5-year-old pit bull, Sophie, back.

However, Stewart says this wasn’t the case.

He said he knew going into court on Tuesday, April 14, that he was going to have to change his residence from Salina in order to get Sophie back. The city’s breed-specific law prohibits pit bulls within city limits unless they were registered back when the pit bull ban was enacted several years ago.

Instead, he said he was hit with additional charges, including permitting a dog to run at large and failure to provide Sophie’s vaccination paperwork.

A new court date has been set for May 6, and Stewart vows to be back for it.

“Sophie deserves to have someone fight for her,” Stewart told Land Line on Tuesday. “She isn’t a violent dog. She has never hurt anybody, and she doesn’t deserve this.”

Because of the additional time off to make it back for his court appearance on Tuesday, Stewart said his trucking business has taken a financial hit. However, Stewart’s planner and dispatcher at Swift Transportation are making every effort to get him back in Salina for his next court date in May.

Instead of his original goal of getting Sophie back, Stewart said he now has two goals: to get Sophie back and to overturn Salina’s pit bull ban.

“I am going to fight this thing all the way,” he said.

Stewart’s dog was confiscated by Salina Animal Control officers on March 29, after she escaped from his friend’s house where Stewart and Sophie were staying. A neighbor alerted animal control that a possible “pit bull-type dog” was running free.

It’s now been 17 days since Stewart has seen Sophie, who was his constant companion in the cab since December 2014. He is hoping to see Sophie at animal control before heading back out to pick up a load of meat in Omaha, Neb., on Tuesday night.

“I would like to see her before I leave town so she knows I haven’t forgotten about her,” he said.

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